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Mirzapur: Battle of the bad boys in eastern UP

Mirzapur:  Battle of the bad boys in eastern UP
Highlights

Five months after the gangster flick Sacred Games was premiered on rival VOD Netflix and took the netizens by storm, comes the next bang, bang stuff...

Five months after the gangster flick ‘Sacred Games’ was premiered on rival VOD Netflix and took the netizens by storm, comes the next bang, bang stuff ‘Mirzapur’ on Amazon Prime Video set in eastern Uttar Pradesh. On the face of it, like all underworld-based stories, this one too looks same on the surface- unforgiving rival gangs, one warlord, his young wife with a mind and body of her own, reckless firing among feuding cops and criminals, non-stop, abusive dialogues and noisy, unabashed lovemaking scenes. Of course, for the best effect, it is recommended to binge watch the nine episodes of Season 1, non-stop, which is possible on a weekend night for sure.

A favourite route for all those rebels in contemporary Hindi cinema industry, the web series is now a convenient method for legitimising typical male conversations, peppered with cuss words and unparliamentary, to stay the least. Added to that is the uber-macho method of filming sequences where the justification is that it reflects ground realities and hence sends the women into the backstage as usual.

Anurag Kashyap branded this form of filmmaking with his two-part ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ and this web series product faithfully follows the genre. The format, the sequence of events, the twists and turns and the open-ended climax as the last episode rolls out are all very easily predictable. This is mainly because post-‘Satya’, the cult classic released two decades ago, the seamy world of subterranean crime has not been depicted differently, in the many films that followed.

In ‘Mirzapur’, Pankaj Tripathi is the lord of all he surveys, the ‘Kaaleen Bhaiyya’ of his crime-infested town, where legitimate business forms the subterfuge for the shady. A distinctly upper caste setting, which has its own shadow on the narration in the subsequent stages lends the provincial, local feel to the episodes, rendered in typically local dialect, a sing-song Bhojpuri one at that, easy on the ear for sure.

A set of new faces form the characters like Ali Fazal in an understated performance and Divyendu Sharma, temperamental and hotheaded. Then there are the under-exposed artistes like Rasika Dugal, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Shweta Tripathi, etc as the narration stays rooted to the small-town milieu with its hyperactive characters out to strike at each other in a bid to harm and control them. Kulbhushan Kharbanda, in a cameo as the warlord’s father, is impressive as he assumes a pivotal slot as the Season 1 episodes roll out.

The nearly six-hour-long series is not startlingly gripping but ends up as yet another depiction of the sleaze and crime infesting the Hindi belt region. The reason is because of overkill in recent times of this kind of a storyline. Moreover, the crime and punishment factor which is the USP is also its demerit as there cannot be anything revolutionary shown when the plot is all about blood and gore and a no-holds-barred attempt of one another to seize the throne.

Of course, there are determined opponents to the unbridled run of Pankaj Tripathi in the form of a courageous advocate and a no-nonsense cop but then what happens to them and their endeavours is reserved for the next season. For lovers of crime and action, ‘Mirzapur’ may not disappoint but it surely is not an earth-shaking showcasing of the lives that people lead, caught in the crossfire between the good and the evil.

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