• Release Date: 19/08/2021
  • Platform: Hoichoi
  • Cast: Anirban Bhattacharya, Anirban Chakrabarti, Tota Roy Chowdhury 
  • Director: Birsa Dasgupta

Mukhosh is a remake of the much-celebrated Malayalam thriller Anjaam Pathiraa. While the story and the characters remain the same as they were in the original, Mukhosh is a tighter and shorter film — a fact that is proved by its 1 hour 54 minutes runtime as compared to the 2 hours and 24 minutes runtime of the original. Kingshuk (Anirban Bhattacharya) is a psychologist who specializes in criminal psychology. He lands his dream job with Kolkata Police as a resident Criminal Psychologist. Kingshuk and Adrish (Anirban Chakrabarti), a senior police officer, are almost instantaneously summoned to the site of a grisly murder. The departed is a police officer who is well known to Adrish. The killer quickly strikes again and this time claims another cop and leaves his mutilated corpse in the police backyard raising serious questions on the efficiency of the police. A special team is formed — of which Kingshuk is an integral part — to nab the killer.

Unfortunately, not only is the killer always a step ahead of the Kolkata police, but it also becomes apparent that he has meticulously planned the murders and is staring into the heart and minds of the officers investigating the murders. It is as if he knows what the police will do before the police do it. How will Kingshuk and the police nab such a ruthless and foxy killer? Why is he killing only cops and how many more will he kill? These are some of the questions that drive the narrative of the film.

Mukhosh had a great source material to work with and it follows the beats and the already trodden path of Anjaam Pathiraa with conviction. It is evident that Birsa Dasgupta (Director) knew his way around the original and he wonderfully adapts the story in a manner that is authentic to the Bengali way of life and how it should feel when a story of that nature unfolds in the city of Kolkata. I thoroughly enjoyed how well the town and the alleys are used to infuse tension and envision certain sequences. I have seen the original and noticed that many sequences were almost entirely re-envisioned to feel a lot less dramatic and in keeping with how Bengali thrillers are made these days. It was a welcome change from a slightly dramatic and surreal rendering of the original.

Since Mukhosh is a much shorter film, the proceedings feel a lot breezier. The plot basically jumps from one murder to another delving only on the team’s course of action and the investigation after the murder and aftermath of the said murder and its impact on the team. As was the case with the original, we learn nothing about the killer or his motive until we are in the final act of the film. Thus, Mukhosh is not the kind of film that involves its audiences in the investigation and gives them the luxury of investigating the case in real-time with the protagonist. That, to me, is one of the best qualities of a whodunit thriller as it immerses the audiences in the proceedings and doesn’t reduce them to being silent spectators watching the protagonist[s] do all the work for them. Since Mukhosh doesn’t involve its audiences in the investigation, it had to have a juicier mystery that was more intriguing and made a lot more sense in the end. Thankfully, that is something that the film is brimming with.

Anirban Bhattacharya is terrific as the protagonist. He oscillates between someone who is in control of the situation in one moment to someone who has been undone by a much smarter opponent and is bewildered by it in the next. It isn’t easy to organically transform between the two avatars so easily. Anirban Bhattacharya does a fantastic job of selling both versions of the character and making the audiences’ feel his pain and frustration at not being able to accomplish what he believes he is capable of. I loved his exchange with Tota Roy Chowdhury. I am confident that this exchange will account for the highest dramatic point in the film and will give most viewers the perfect resolution to all the questions that have been bugging them since the beginning of the film. It is also a moment that is emotionally just as rewarding.

Tota Roy Chowdhury is sensational in a role that is not even 30 minutes long. He casts such a looming shadow on the entire film with his dramatic prowess that it is hard not to regard his performance as the best in the film. However, it must be noted that the success and impact of the character are as much for his rendition of the character as it is for the manner in which his character is written. Suffice is to say that the audiences will not be split between whom they want to cheer for by the end of it all. Everyone will unanimously side with Tota’s character.

Anirban Chakrabarti is another actor who will not be noticed by many simply because of how simple his character feels and acts like. That simplicity plays a strong part in making the character shocking in its own realm by the end of the film. It is this unassuming charm that takes us by surprise when we learn what this man is truly capable of and how he shaped the antagonist of the film and the entire chain of events. After Feluda Pherot, this is Anirban Chakrabarti’s second most proficient act that I have had the pleasure of witnessing this year.  

Overall, Mukhosh is a worthy and proficient remake of a film that is already overwhelmingly popular. The best aspect about this rendition is the fact that the makers thoughtfully tried to recreate a believable and authentic world that resembles Kolkata and effectively recreated the story and tied it along with the topography and the interpersonal drama with utmost care and sincerity. While the basic story remained the same, the film’s presentation and feel were totally different and felt organic. The performances were good and none of the actors felt out of place. The shock factor in the story and the intricate mystery was always going to be an added advantage. It can be summarized that anyone who hasn’t seen Anjaam Pathiraa will love this film. The ones who have seen the original will still be forced to appreciate the craft and the urgency in storytelling. Mukhosh is one of those rare remakes that takes it’s original and makes it in the image of its current setting and in the process converts it into a whole new experience.   

Rating: 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)

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