Ahead of release of boxing drama Mukkabaaz, Anurag Kashyap talks about how people from lower strata turn sportsmen for reasons other than love for the game
Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz may revolve around a boxer, but as is true of his films, this one too has multiple layers to it. Through the journey of his protagonist, a boxer who belongs to a lower caste, Kashyap addresses one of the biggest social evils of the country – casteism. He also trains the spotlight on how people from lower strata are attracted to the field of sports not for the love of the game, but for their own agenda.
“We all know the status of boxing in India. Professional boxing has started only recently here. Boxers in India come from certain strata of the society. People from lower strata get into sports to change their lifestyle, to upgrade themselves, to get government jobs. So there is not just casteism, but also reverse casteism,” he analyses.
One with a proclivity for nuances, Kashyap says he knew early on that he’d showcase the female lead of Mukkabaaz, played by Zoya Hussain, as a mute character. “The heroine is a metaphor for the women in Uttar Pradesh, where my film is set. They hear everything, but don’t speak up.”
The film, which stars Vineet Kumar Singh in the central role, won applause at the Toronto Film Festival. “My worry was how the audience out there will react to different elements of boxing in India. I was surprised that it found an audience in the West.”
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