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Anurag Kashyap's "Mukkabaaz" kicked off the 19th edition of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival here and opened with resounding chants of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' amidst applause. The film chronicles the story of a boxer from Uttar Pradesh, Shravan Singh, enacted by Vineet Kumar Singh, who falls in love with a Brahmin girl. Things take a turn when he lands a punch on head of boxing federation and politician-gangster, Bhagwan Das, played by Jimmy Shergill. The film then sets out on the journey of the underdog, who fights a corrupt system and deep-rooted casteism to pursue his boxing dreams and win over the love of his life. Before the premiere at the iconic Liberty Cinema here last night, Kashyap said he was "nervous" and thanked producer Aanand L Rai and Eros Now. "I am dying to see how everybody reacts to it because we have tried to make the film under the radar. The one man I want to thank is Aanand Rai and Eros.
They gave me total freedom to do what I wanted to do. They didn't tell me anything, except 'go ahead.' I hope I don't let my producers and exhibitors down," he said. In the movie, Kashyap bravely draws references to some of the biggest headlines of the past few years - from mob lynching to 'gau rakshaks', with the opening scene itself beginning with a man tied to tree, supposedly a cow trader, beaten up by men who ask him to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'. The venue was packed with the audience hooting and clapping at regular intervals throughout the two-and-a-half hour runtime of the film. After the closing credits rolled, Kashyap, along with the cast and crew, went onto the stage to thank the audience. They were then greeted with continuous applause and even chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" from the audience - in reference to a scene from the film when Shravan chants the same while beating the baddie. The movie also features Zoya Hussain, Ravi Kissan, Sadhana Singh among others. "Mukkabaaz" is scheduled to release theatrically in January.
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