Mukti Bhavan subtly but surely brings out an age old dilemma to the fore. Do you hold your life to accommodate the wish of your ageing parent or ignore them to continue fulfilling your other duties?
Mukti Bhawan with a rare combination of sensitively and refreshingly light hand deals with the changing equations of a father-son relationship. Rajiv (Adil Hussain) is unhappy with his father Devendra (Lalit Bahl)'s stubborn wish to stay in Varanasi during his last few days. The father-son relationship is riddled with guilt, resentment and of course, a lot of unspoken love.
The debut feature film director Shubhashish Bhutiani explores Varanasi in refreshingly intimate manner, without resorting to lazy cliches that are generally associated with the place. Bhutiani takes us through the lanes and gulllies of the lethargic city, even as Rajiv is forced to traverse through them, along with his own unexpressed emotions.
What strikes the most about the narration is the cool practicality with which death is looked at by the residents of the lodge that the father and son are cooped up in. The owner of the lodge, Mishra (Anil K Rastogi) seems to be blessed with some kind of ESP about the exact schedule of the God of death, and in direct contrast is the pleasant old lady, Vimla (Navneet Behl), who has been waiting for too long for the call from heaven. Her heart warming relationship with Devendra is something that you carry with you along with a lot of other things.
Mukti is poignant and laced with sadness, but not for a moment drags you down. Instead it gives you the tranquil acceptance of immortality.
A great effort by young Bhutiani. He not only execute a not so attractive subject pretty deftly, but also managed to eke some great performances by his competent actors.
Don't miss this film.
Rating: 3.5 on 5