Mogul Mowgli is a British independent drama directed by Basam Tariq and assisted by an actor on the screenplay Ahmed Rice, who gained the respect he deserved after his role in the film Sound of Metal. The film debuted at the Berlin Film Festival, while it was released in October last year. The scenario touches on many difficult topics that include immigration, racism, divisions, the pressure of family expectations and more.
Reese Ahmed plays Zed, a London rapper originally from Pakistan whose career is finally taking an entry path. Zed has been working in New York for two years and is in a position to go on a world tour as a backing performer. His girlfriend suggests that before the start of the tour, he should return home to London to visit his parents. At home, he is confronted with the tradition and heritage he left behind and realizes that he has health problems. It turns out that he has an autoimmune disease that affects his muscles and his tour is in question…
In the movie Sound of Metal Reese interprets a musician whose illness, more precisely hearing loss, disrupted his career plans. His character in this film faces more or less the same problems, only it is a different musical genre that deals with another type of disease. As if the illness alone is not enough, Zeda’s arrival at the family home intensifies the identity crisis and tries to reconcile his interests with his Pakistani roots. It is very likely that the script has elements of a personal story and the characters are exclusively of immigrant origin (it seems to me that only the doctors were white).
Mogul Mowgli indirectly follows the tension that is inevitable between parents who were the first generation of immigrants and their children who leave their own culture behind. Zed does not use his name Zahir, he speaks in English while everyone else mostly uses Urdu and often resents his approach to traditional values such as prayer in the mosque. We have seen all this several times in the film, but this time the author has no problem taking risks with the style of realization and narration in order to violate the expectations of the viewers. I have to admit that I was tired of visual metaphors and that they significantly influenced the following of the film, especially because I am not at all familiar with Pakistani culture.
As his illness worsens, Zed has problems with hallucinations in which he testifies to the violent experiences his father had when he fled to Pakistan with other Muslims from India. Hallucinations include a religious person / entity representing his or her heritage, and these visions of the past in which he or she has not participated blur the line between his or her life and the history of his or her family. These hallucinations are portrayed with magical realism when the director accentuates the faces of his characters who often look at the camera itself, and Reese brings emotional vulnerability to his character, which is certainly the strongest element of this film.
Contrary to my expectations, the events related to music are not the main segment of the story. Prior to this film, I had no idea that Reese Ahmed was successfully performing as a rapper under the pseudonym Reese MC and using her experience in that business for this film. Zed’s texts are socially engaged with aggressive political messages and descriptions of immigrant experiences. RPG is a rapper who will replace him on tour and he considers Zed his idol, but Zed does not tolerate him because, although he is Pakistani, he adapts his lyrics to the commercial aspect of the music business.
Mogul Mowgli is an interesting and imperfect experimental drama that combines the complicated nature of identity and heritage, the pressure of a breakthrough in the music industry and the helplessness in dealing with the illness of Reese Ahmed, who this time delighted me as a rap musician.
my final grade: 7/10
Source: The Filmske Recenzije by filmskerecenzije.com.
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