The political landscape of the country is ridden with corruption, manipulation and solicitation that become modus operandi during elections, often making the common man the casualty. The distribution of alcohol among marginalized communities, blatant threats, and manipulation of votes create a dangerous game where conscience takes a backseat. High stakes, low virtue — this is the harsh reality of the political sphere.
Winner of the Gold award at the recent Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, Praveen Giri's riveting film, Mankhurd, delves into this gritty world where power plays overshadow the lives of the unsuspecting. The plot, centered on the complex dynamics of the Mankhurd community, unveils how a political party exploits these intricacies to sway votes in their favor. Caught in the crossfire is an aspirational father-daughter duo battling financial struggles. The daughter dreams of pursuing her master's degree, and despite the odds, the father strives to make it a reality. Their love and dedication to each other and the pursuit of success stand in stark contrast to the murky waters of politics that have ensnared them.
The film courageously explores themes of crime and wrongdoing without consequences, offering a rare glimpse into the harsh realities typically unexplored in Bollywood. It paints a stark picture of the ugliness that festers when power becomes the driving force, leaving the common man to bear the brunt of its consequences. The film's opening line, "Terrorism is merely an imposition of an ideology," sets the stage for a gripping journey. The film skillfully shows us how an election campaign can transform into a monstrous entity and how politics can spiral into something akin to terrorism.
Weaponizing the issues of minority communities and playing the suburb dynamics like an instrument for personal gain, the political party in the film is symbolic of the systemic evils that plague society. Praveen Giri's Mankhurd, not only presents a cinematic marvel but also serves as a mirror reflecting the horrific inner workings of power, politics, and the price paid by those caught in their crossfire.
The film's world premiere at the Chennai International Film Festival marks a significant moment in Indian cinema, one that pushes boundaries and challenges the status quo.