MIRZAPUR (2018)

Pankaj Tripathi as Kaleen Bhaiya
  • Original Air Date: 16/11/2018
  • Cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Vikrant Massey, Divyendu Sharma, Shweta Tripathi, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Rasika Duggal, Abhishek Banerjee
  • Created By: Karan Anshuman, Puneet Krishna
  • Directed By: Karan Anshuman, Gurmmeet Singh, Mihir Desai, Nisha Chandra

Mirzapur is the story of Akhanda Tripathi aka Kaaleen Bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi) the overseer of the town of Mirzapur who is at a delicate time in his life and reign. The elections are approaching and the ruling party ministers are giving him hell for funds, his business of bootlegged guns is dwindling, his wife is never sexually satisfied with him and his son, Munna (Divyendu Sharma) is a mess who gets into more trouble than he can handle. If that was not enough, his arch-enemy is trying to make his way back to Mirzapur funding the same ministers who are letting Kaaleen run his show in Mirzapur. It is at this juncture that Kaaleen recruits two brothers, Guddu and Bablu in his gang who would go on to catalyze a chain of events that would change the status quo of Mirzapur.

I enjoyed Mirzapur. It isn’t something that we haven’t seen before, neither is it revolutionary in its content but there is something about it that is very likable and engrossing. The performances are definitely one of the best things about this series. The story starts smack in the middle of the action and remains breezy all throughout. There are multiple elements introduced that just add more and more meat to an already absorbing story. Each of these elements are either important to the existing storyline or is poised to make an impact in the seasons to come which is inevitable because of the manner in which this season finishes off.

Ali Fazal as Guddu Pandit

Pankaj Tripathi has over the years developed a charm that is specific to him and the roles he does. As Kaaleen Bhaiya he brings a lot of that charm to Mirzapur and every time he is on screen the audience is bound to be intrigued and to a certain extent tickled by that charm. I was surprised to notice how funny this series was keeping in mind the content that it has on offer. Every discussion between Kaaleen and his son Munna as also between Kaaleen and his underage wife borders on being hilarious. Kaaleen gets frustrated a lot at the ineptitude of his son and his wife’s constant pandering involving his lack of sexual prowess and the manner in which he reacts to it is “laugh out loud”. I also loved his grasshopper speeches that are as shallow as they are funny. However in the last episode of the series, one gets to see Kaaleen for what he is. He was an unexpected turn and it worked well for me.

Ali Fazal as Guddu is wonderful. I believe that this is the best acting that he has done in years. He totally gets the semi-dolt character and his mannerisms and reactions to most situations are in strong keeping with the character’s nature. There is a scene where his professor rebukes him by calling him “lanth” (idiot). He, however, believes that he has been called a Lund (Penis) and reacts accordingly. But when his brother makes him realize his misunderstanding of the word he calms down with a sense of peace and achievement for not being called a penis but an idiot instead as if he knew he was so. I loved this little bit. As the story progresses one gets innumerable such sequences.

Divyendu Sharma as Munna Tripathi

Vikrant Massey as his younger brother Bablu is an educated and thinking man who is as much in control of his senses as he is of his elder brother. Guddu listens only to Bablu and he is the voice of reason and logic in Guddu’s mind. Massey is a superb actor and he is immensely likable here. He gets under the skin of Bablu who is nothing more than a scared young man who is just beginning to get a taste of crime and how it pays. The transformation of the man is wonderful and is documented wonderfully by Massey’s performance.

Divyendu Sharma is a loose cannon and one cannot predict what he will do next. He remains that way all throughout the film and that is one of the most likable things about him. The fact that he has an innocent and almost baby-like face makes the things that he does even more startling. There are three primary female characters in the film and they all do their parts well. Shweta Tripathi is the most noticeable. I believe her character will assume greater importance in the next season.

Vikrant Massey as Bablu Pandit

A lot has been said about the finale of this series and how it resembles Game of Thrones. If I am to comment on that, I was left a bit underwhelmed by the climax. That was not only because of the fact that I wasn’t expecting this story to bleed into another season but also because the violence and the theatrics that happens in the finale resembled 80s Bollywood and were not in keeping with the fairly realistic mood and tone of the rest of the series.

Mirzapur is fairly entertaining and an embodiment of a lot of things that have been synonymous with the changing face of Bollywood. It has some great performances and the story is interesting enough to keep you interested throughout. The situational comedy works and there will be a lot of slangs and dialogues from this series that will find takers among the young generation. It may not be a good thing but it will certainly document the reach of the series and its success.

Rating 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)    

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