Author: Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

Year: 2018
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain, Jimmy Shergill, Ravi Kishan

What’s the plot?

By refusing to be a powerless crony, an upcoming promising boxer (Vineet Kumar Singh) gets into the bad books of the state boxing federation chief (Jimmy Shergill). The vindictive, casteist boss then makes the sportsman’s life hell by obstructing his progress at every level. The political heavyweight tyrant’s vengefulness reaches a boiling point when his niece (Zoya Hussain) falls for the young man. Coming from a poor family background and lacking formal education, the young boxer is already facing his father’s barbs and with the official machinery working against him, it becomes even more taxing. The big bad man is going all out to get this upstart knocked out! What will happen in the end?

What’s hot?

  • True to his calling, director-co-writer Anurag Kashyap makes yet another earthy, hard-hitting film inspired by real life incidents and delving into dark human frailties, but this time around, he gives it a bit of sugar-coating by mixing elements of romance and sports drama.
  • The boxing scenario, unusual love-story, scathing cynicism, subtle humor, brutal violence and cutting-edge dialogue (in local lingo) make the film watchable. The dirty sports politics; the sorry plight of small town sportsmen and the casteist, feudal ‘system’ is fearlessly exposed.
  • Vineet Kumar Singh plays the tough title-role of the young boxer with total conviction. Jimmy Shergill as the ruthless adversary, Zoya Hussain as the spunky yet mute heroine and Ravi Kishan as the supportive coach are all superb.
  • The folksy rhythmic music adds zing.

What’s not?

  • Kashyap’s penchant for colorful local UP lingo won’t please his detractors.
  • The film could have been shorter.
  • The second half feels stretched and becomes a bit melodramatic.


Thanks to some fine performances and some effective story-telling, Mukabaaz comes across as an eminently watchable film. By and large, it is a taut film with a tough core, but Kashyap seems to have deliberately mixed up some crowd-pleasing filmy elements for the box-office. It is a David versus Goliath story with a difference!


3.5 stars

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