Secret agents, undercover cops or spies are the Westernized and stylized names for them. Mani Shankar now brings this stylized profession to the screen and spices it up Desi style, giving it the name ‘Mukhbir.’ Whenever Mani Shankar brings something on-screen, expect the unexpected. He’s either turning Bipasha Basu into a Lara Croft in Rudraksh or delivering a whole new perspective on war and patriotism in Tango Charlie. Now the ever imaginative director brings on screen a Desi version of a vulnerable and slightly confused James Bond in his latest venture Mukhbiir.
He cannot remember his name, he cannot remember his personality. All these things have been long lost in the journey that has been years of acting, lying and more lying. He covers lies with more lies and puts veils on already existing veils. For the lack of a proper name we’ll refer to him as Mukhbiir (Sammir Dattani). Mukhbiir works for the Intelligence Department of the Indian Government and serves as their most beneficial spy and informer. He was recruited years ago as an innocent young boy caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, his fate, or shall we say Om Puri, presents two options to him; either to suffer the consequences of a crime he did not commit or turn into the ‘Mukhbiir’ Om Puri desperately needs. Thus, Mukhbiir is born and a journey of continuous lies, deception and bloodshed begins.
Mukhbiir doesn’t question Om Puri’s intentions but definitely flinches at some of the paths taken to achieve the desired end result because at heart he is still the innocent young boy, unsure of his ways. Soon he’s planted in some of the riskiest missions in the department and word spreads amongst the enemies about a Mukhbiir on the horizon who will put an end to all their projects. And so the never-ending fight against evil continues.
As usual, Mani Shankar puts on a unique show with a lot of potential but a huge hole in the entertainment area. Mukhbiir is slow paced and the intention of its makers are very unclear throughout. In addition, there are many portions that could have been better executed. For example Mukhbiir sending messages to a little boy via a paper plane is ridiculous since we know that the wind is unpredictable yet this plane lands exactly where it needs to. Small events such as this one accumulate and add to the growing list of flaws that affect the movie greatly.
The main sore point of Mukhbiir is the unneeded and undeveloped romantic angle. It almost seems as if the makers forgot to edit it out by accident.
However, Mukhbiir does have a very impressive component and that is its cinematography which is outstanding in many specific sequences especially in the sequence of Sammir in the Mosque. The dialogues are relatively average but are fairly well-penned for a movie of this unconventional genre.
Sammir Dattani takes a huge leap as an actor and is sure to get a lot of appreciation and recognition. The actor has been silent for a long time and it is about time he shined. Sequences such as the one when he’s embracing Islam and being put under the lie detector are very impressive. Om Puri is efficient in his role. Sunil Shetty is very likable and one hopes to see him more often in such a role. Raima Sen is wasted and one would really like to know why she said yes to this character.
All in all, expectations of a strong film are sadly let down due to a weak script and screenplay. One just hopes that the fate of the movie doesn’t affect the hard work put into by the actors. This one probably isn’t worth the run to the cinema.