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Thursday, October 29, 2020


We see father and son reconciling their social roles with a stunning performance by both actors. (Review by Pranesh Maharaj).

Mogul Mowgli will feature on the programme of the European Film Festival which runs from November 12 to 22, 2020

“You can box art, but you can’t box an artist.” If it’s not our loved ones then, sometimes it’s the world that’s against us and we have to push through each time. Unfortunately, in the case of Zed or Zaheer (Mogul Mowgli’s lead character’s two worlds) it is the universe that pushes him into a corner; forcing him to reconcile his life and deal with his identity.

Zed is his stage name and Zaheer is his actual registered name. Some conflict arises out of that issue as well in one scene.

One did not have a clear indication on where the story was going with the first few scenes, that hurried along, by the way. So, it dealt with all one’s preconceived notions at the very beginning and put it to rest until we meet his dad. I feel that a lot more could have been done to attach dad’s story to Zed/Zaheer’s story. But then, it is Zaheer’s story. I also feel that post this incident in his life, that he would become a better writer and performer.

Mogul Mowgli is directed by Bassam Tariq who wrote the film with Riz Ahmed. The film stars Riz Ahmed, Anjana Vasan and Aiysha Hart.

Zed is an up and coming rap artist who seems to cater for a niche crowd that is expanding and he is booked for a tour in Europe when he decides to visit his folks just before. A series of little occurrences, and they were sensitive enough to deal with these issues as socio-cultural, not religious or ethnic specific. Zaheer ends up in hospital with a rare condition that could deteriorate and, much against his will, the tour is handed over to an adversary.

The director takes the time to place us into that box with him, hence the overwhelming POV shots at tense moments. At the turning point in his career, when he was going to prove everyone wrong, including his dad; is the time when he can do nothing. I could see the psychological regression as each measure of success is questioned, from independence to commitment, to competition; or rather, the need for it. Most of the time these measures lead to the loneliest of times and after having achieved much materially, left empty inside.

Zaheer thought that he had the world figured out and that he was his own magnet. In hospital, he is confronted with images that beckon him to face something. We see father and son reconciling their social roles with a stunning performance by both actors. When at Zaheer’s complaint that the father had tried to do everything to stop him from becoming a rapper, we learn now that it was a motivating factor. I can see that they worked on this script until the very last minute and it got the attention it deserves. – Pranesh Maharaj

Mogul Mowgli can be seen from November 12 to 22, 2020, on the European Film Festival’s website. Click on the advert to the right of this article or visit