Subhash K Jha reviews Applause Entertainment's new show for MX Player, Bhaukaal

Review of MX Player’s Bhaukaal: A Mofussil Bloodbath

Bhaukaal (MX Player)

Starring Mohit Raina, Abhimanyu Singh

Directed by Jatin Wagle

Rating: *** (three stars)

Mohit Raina, who was a scene-stealer in his abbreviated role in Uri deserves a lot more space. He gets a full 10 episodes in Bhaukaal,(MX Player and Applause Entertainment) in this bloodied savagely violent look at the crime graph in Muzzafarnagar (Uttar Pradesh), considered the crime capital of North India till recently. Or, so we are led to believe in the throng of crime dramas on the web, like Mirzapur which had some good actors like Pankaj Tripathi, Shweta Tripathy and Rasika Duggal to lift the plot beyond the bloodshed.

Bhaukal never rises above the murky morass of murderous moral bankruptcy. The sole purpose of this series’ existence seems to be to provide elaborate shoot-outs between cops and gangsters in the rugged hinterland. One shoot-out that deserves a shout-out is the one staged in a canefield at the beginning of Episode 4. Guns and gannas go well together.

If only the series had more in the way of innovativeness to offer. Most of the incidents involve the upright IPS officer Naveen Sikhera (Mohit Raina)’s do-or-die battle with Muzzafarnagar’s resident ganglord Mohammed Shaukeen (Abhimanyu Singh). While Raina is suitably valorous in his stereotypical role(he has a huge history of khaki heroism from Amitabh Bachchan in Zanjeer to Ranveer Singh in Simmba to live up to) Abhimanyu Singh’s vicious villainy is not the least intimidating.

In one early sequence, he tries to scare a woman by sidling up to her small son with veiled menace. The little boy looks more amused than petrified while Abhimanyu Singh tries hard to bring variation into his vile character. But to no avail. Nonetheless, the brutality of the cop-criminal encounters and the colourful language (the Hindi ‘g’ word for the posterior is used with the same relish as a little boy practising his nursery rhymes to impress his teacher) would appeal to fans of Ram Gopal Varma and Anurag Kashyap.

This Holi, if a bloodbath is your thing then dip right in.