Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani
Cast: Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Gitanjali Kulkarni, Palomi Ghosh
Death is a curious subject to talk about. A young director who is just 24-years-old, Shubhashish Bhutiani marked his directorial debut by making a film which highlights an interesting journey of an old man seeking death on the banks of Ganges in Benaras.
Rajeev (Adil Hussain) takes his 77 year old father Daya (Lalit Behl) to Mukti Bhawan in Benaras on his multiple request. The two start living in a dingy room facing the Ganga ghat while Daya waits for his life to end and achieve Salvation. In the due course of time, Daya mingles with his old fellow mates over meals and hymns.
Meanwhile, Lata (Geetanjali Kulkarni), Rajeev’s wife and daughter Sunita (Palomi Ghosh) visit him and Daya to Benaras. The two plead to Daya to get back home but to no avail. Soon after, Daya sends his son Rajeev back to the city and decides to reside alone in Mukti Bhawan. Eventually, Daya leaves for heavenly abode.
The interesting part of Mukti Bhawan is its subject. Perhaps this is amongst the very few Indian films that have touched upon the issue of seeking death. One must have come across many documentaries on life after death, mortality-immortality etc, but journey to attain death is something unusual in Mukti Bhawan.
It may surprise you that the film that deals with such a strange subject is handled by a young guy Shubhashish Bhutiani. In his early 20’s, his vision towards it is remarkable. While the current generation is busy remixing old songs, minting money on skin show in their films, Shubhashish seems to be away from it. He surely raises huge expectations with his writing in his ventures ahead.
Mukti Bhawan is like chalk and cheese among the films being made these days. It may or may not appeal to a certain age bracket, especially the youth. It might strike a chord with the older generation, but the thought behind it makes the film worth watching. After winning hearts at several film festivals, Mukti Bhawan finally releases in India which depicts that there is a market for such scripts in the Hindi film industry, albeit niche. There are producers who are willing to invest their money in scripts like Mukti Bhawan.
Adil Hussain steals the show as a loyal and caring son of his father played by Lalit Behl. Few moments between the two will make you smile and cry at the same time. The camaraderie between a dying father and a son gives an incredible cinematic experience. Geetanjali Kulkarni and Palomi Ghosh are natural in their roles. Anil Rastogi who plays a role of the owner is good too.
Watch Mukti Bhawan for its beautiful thought and outstanding performances but if a pot boiler is on your mind this weekend then happily skip this one. Not recommended to the masses.