Banner: Red Carpet Moving Pictures,
La Biennale di Venzia
Producers: Sanjay Bhutiani, Sajida
Sharma, Shubhashish Bhutiani
Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani
Cast: Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, GeetanjaliKulkarni, Palomi Ghosh, Navnindra Behl, Anil K Rastogi
Writer: Shubhashish Bhutiani
Music: Tajdar Junaid
There’s no arguing that many of us are afraid of one thing, death. Debutant director Shubhashish Bhutiani’s Mukti Bhawan is a film that takes a positive approach to this ultimate truth. This film has dealt with this reality in a breezy and light-hearted manner. It also beautifully shows the many layers a father-son relationship has and how it grows over time.
Mukti Bhawan opens with Dayanand Kumar (Lalit Behl), a 77-year-old man experiencing an unusual nightmare about his own death. Soon after this unsettling dream, he makes a suggestion to his son Rajiv (Adil Hussain). He makes his son take him on a trip to Varanasi, where he can achieve mukti (spiritual liberation) and die peacefully. Rajiv pleads with this father to banish the thought but Daya is not willing to listen. Rajiv is forced to take leave from work and set off for Varanasi with his dad.
Upon reaching Varanashi, they check into Mukti Bhawan. While checking in, Mishraji (Anil K Rastogi) warns that individuals who do not get mukti in 15 days have to check out. Mukti Bhawan is a place where people await death with a positive mindset. During this period, Daya meets people who are trying to achieve the same aim and also writes obituaries for them. He also meets a woman, Vimla (Navnindra Behl) with exceptional thoughts, who explains that death comes by its own will. During the conversation, she tells him that she has been waiting in this bhawan for
Meanwhile Rajiv is bound to take care of his father by cooking for him and washing his clothes. He is constantly juggling responsibilities, towards his father, his family back home and work. Gradually, the father-son duo starts sharing a positive relationship.
Writer-director Shubhashish Bhutiani has wonderfully tied the film together with layers that show the interplay between life and death. He also showcases the clash of thoughts between different generations. The story subtly touches upon religious faith and rituals. The film is laden with several such heart-warming moments that are guaranteed to bring a smile on your face.
Coming to music, Tajdar Junaid has lent calm and soothing tunes, which are apt for the situations in the film. The runtime of the film is 1 hour, 39 minutes and it keeps you engaged from start to finish.
Performance-wise, Adil Hussain aptly plays the part of a middle-class working man and his acting prowess is impressive. Lalit Behl is a delight to watch. Geetanjali Kulkarni and Palomi Ghosh play the perfect wife and daughter, and deliver notable performances. Navnindra Behl’s acting is subtle yet brilliant. Anil K Rastogi is good. The rest of the cast support well.
Verdict: Mukti Bhawan not only warms your heart, it also fills it with oodles of positivity. Go watch it.