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OTTplay Lost and Found - Mukti Bhawan

This dark comedy film takes a more restrained yet definitive jab at the very idea of death. We’re talking about Shubhashish Bhutiani’s 2017 film Mukti Bhawan.

Nikhil Kumar
Jan 20, 2022
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Welcome to OTTplay Lost and Found, one podcast that gives you info about critically acclaimed films but lesser-known. I'm your host Nikhil

Woody Allen once famously said, “I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” And how one interprets and processes the end of one’s life can vary and also trigger a range of emotions – from self-pity to reflective. Even Rajesh Khanna’s eponymous character in Anand exploded with fundas on life on being diagnosed with an incurable condition. “Babumushoi, zindagi badi honi chahiye … lambi nahin,” is just one of his memorable nuggets.

But today’s Lost and Found is a film that takes a more restrained yet definitive jab at the very idea of death. We’re talking about Shubhashish Bhutiani’s 2017 dark comedy Mukti Bhawan. The film revolves around a 76-year-old called Dayanand (played with conviction by Lalit Behl), who has an epiphany and announces to his family that he’s lost his desire for life. Keeping with his prophetic realization, this septuagenarian checks into Mukti Bhawan, one of the many ‘death hotels’ in Varanasi — meant for those who want to breathe their last in the holy city. Hindus believe that those who die in Varanasi achieve moksha or salvation and thus many flock to the holy city when they feel their end is near. 

Dayanand is also accompanied by his son, Rajiv (played masterfully by Adil Hussain), to the holy city. Rajiv finds himself in a peculiar situation. He struggles to grapple with the fact that his father has relinquished his desire for life and the inevitable loss to follow, but also that he’s suddenly become extremely fastidious. For instance, in a scene, we find the elderly gent dismissing an obituary in the newspaper for its poor choice of words, even claiming that he would write his own. Later, when he announces that he’d rather stick to a diet of fruits just like the sadhus, his son corrects him saying, “Phal pandit nahin, udyogpati khaate hain.” 

The bittersweet exchanges and the dark humor is what makes Mukti Bhawan tick and it’s surely worth the 99 minutes of its runtime. If you’re looking for belly laughs, look elsewhere. The humour here is subdued and dark. This one also makes for a moving tale about a son struggling to salvage his fragmented relationship with his father.

And it’s surely one that will compel you to re-evaluate your priorities and re-calibrate your approach to life. 

If you haven't watched this yet, then do so as it's streaming exclusively on Hotstar.

 Well, that's the Lost and Found film for today's podcast, I shall be back again soon with a new episode. Until then it's your host Nikhil signing out.

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