Mukkabaaz

A low caste boxer (Shravan) trains at a gym controlled by a local Don (Bhagwan Das Mishra). Shravan falls for Mishra’s niece (Sunaina). The Don does not approve of this match. Shravan strives to win Sunaina’s hand in marriage and become a successful boxer while trying to avoid retaliation from the Don. The film opens with a lynching. Worse, it opens with a lynching that is being recorded on a camera phone, as Muslim cow-traders are beaten and exhorted to say ‘Jai Shri Ram.’ This is horrific, but the two boxers watching the clip later are merely bemused. They identify the goons as fellow fighters, and, walking past one of them, tease him as he cursorily denies the accusations. Their tone is not of admonition and accusation but of jovial jeering, as if a rascal was caught doing something playful. This is what it means to them. These are the boxers of Bareilly, and our hero Shravan Kumar is the best of the lot.Our boxer rebels, you see.

One sunny day he steps up against his dictatorial boxing overlord, a coach who makes his students carry grain and clean mutton, and socks him in the face. This is not because of righteous indignation – though he claims it is – but because a girl in the coach’s house has arrested his attention and he wants, desperately, to make an impression. He is thrashed, soundly, by several, but he has played his card. He wants nothing more than to be her hero. She, too, wants a hero.

Appropriately named Sunaina – the one with lovely eyes – she is a mute girl who speaks volumes with her giant, limpid eyes, and they gleam as she tries to convince her mother that this boxer is a good idea. The mother has several objections, but she brushes them aside as she imitates Ranveer Singh’s dandruffy Tattar-Tattar dance step to say that Shravan looks at her the way Singh looks at… Looks at who, her mother asks? Sign language is forsaken now as she moves her mouth enthusiastically, with an Indian heroine needing no more than a couple of syllables for complete recognition: Dee-pi-ka. These lovers are, naturally, star-crossed.