Mujib: The Making Of A Nation review: Shyam Benegal fails to give us an authentic portrayal of the great man

Mujib: The Making Of A Nation review: Shyam Benegal fails to give us an authentic portrayal of the great man

Mujib: The Making Of A Nation review: Shyam Benegal fails to give us an authentic portrayal of the great man

What: Mujib: The Making Of A Nation by Shyam Benegal is a biopic on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, an Indo-Bangla co-production, a first under the joint co-production treaty signed by the two countries, this film fails to give us a true sense of the greatness of the man.

Mujib: The Making Of A Nation movie review

Directed by Shyam Benegal whose body of work in Hindi cinema and Television is unparalleled, the film focuses on issues that would be acceptable to both countries and leaves out the sticky ones. Even the historical context is one note. There’s mention of the bloody agitations, genocides and refugee exodus but those moments are not dramatized on the big screen. For some events archival footage is used while others find verbal mention in speeches and conversations. It does feel as though the scriptwriters preferred to keep the degree of difficulty to a low standard, keeping in mind Director Shyam Benegal’s advanced years and fragile health situation. Even Indira Gandhi’s crucial role in sending in the Indian Army to liberate East Pakistan is presented as a two bit interview (albeit through archival footage).

The political bias in favour of the current Govt of both countries is quite visible in this effort. There’s no real balance in this depiction of history which unfolds in rather straight-forward fashion with the young Mujib, going to university, falling foul of the law several times, getting married, producing children, becoming President and then getting assassinated. Everything that happens to lead up to Mujib’s choice as President feels conspired though. The loose depiction of his activism and political acts fail to raise either the tempo or tension in this narration. Benegal’s narrative has Mujib’s wife as Sutradhar and that may be a befitting choice given that this film feels more like a family drama than a story of a Political awakening. Benegal makes easy and convenient artistic choices and that rings the death knell for this film’s enjoyment. The narrative here is not as multifaceted a tapestry as one would expect.


Mujib: The Making Of A Nation - final review

The performances range from old fashioned to theatrical, the music fails to lend depth or nuance to the telling, the art direction and production design are rather ordinary. The lack of character development and the reduction of supporting characters to mere props, tells its own story. In fact even Mujib’s role and motivations in the overall schema remains unclear. The overly simplistic nature of this telling makes it difficult to engage with any of the characters here, on any meaningful level. The cinematography is workman like and the editing definitely could have been snippier. If you are expecting clarity and authenticity from this biopic then you are bound to be disappointed.


Rating : 2.5/5

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About J. T. Tabeer

J. T. Tabeer

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