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Daredevil Musthafa review: A beautiful tale of harmony and brotherhood; but are we really listening?

Debutant director Shashank Soghal’s film comes at a time when the larger and louder public discourse is not one of love and humanity, which makes its message all the more important

Daredevil Musthafa review: A beautiful tale of harmony and brotherhood; but are we really listening?
A still from Daredevil Musthafa

Last Updated: 09.36 AM, May 20, 2023


Story: The quaint little town of Abachuru is known for its history of communal unrest that generally tends to peak around the Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations, when the procession passes by the local mosque. For the predominantly Hindu community, Muslims and their way of life are mysterious matters. When the local pre-University college then admits its sole Muslim student, Jamal Abdul Musthafa Hussain, it ruffles a few feathers.


Review: A lot has already been said about how good a film debutant director Shashank Soghal’s Daredevil Musthafa is. The message he tells could not be more pertinent, given the times we live in today. But that, my friends, is also why I fear that Shashank’s brave effort, noble as it is, will get a lot of love only from a section of people. The ardent hope is that I am proven wrong, but let’s not kid ourselves. There is a reason that a certain ‘other’ film, which thrives on hate-mongering and divisiveness enjoys well over 300 shows in a city like Bengaluru, and is raking in moolah in the crores, while the story that ought to be in the limelight gets only a minute fraction of those shows.

Daredevil Musthafa
Daredevil Musthafa

If we were to set aside the fact that the crux of Daredevil Musthafa is built on communal harmony and brotherhood and simply look at it as any other regular film, positive word-of-mouth publicity is what film teams eagerly wait for to give a movie a fighting chance at the box office. In Daredevil Musthafa’s case, the celebrities who saw the film at an earlier special screening, as well as members of the media, have been showering it with immense praise for quite a while, but the trickle-down effect has not been palpable yet. This is a film with a bunch of newcomers, so, it may take a wee bit longer for audiences to warm up to the idea of heading out to watch it in theatres. Dear film lovers, who have been crying yourselves hoarse about the lack of quality movies in Kannada cinema – here is your chance to step up and ensure that this film gets the due it deserves. The first three days will determine whether exhibitors, especially multiplexes that have deigned to give the film only one show each and at ridiculous time slots, retain it for the rest of the week.

Let’s now focus on the film. As someone who has never before been exposed to the works of Poornachandra Tejaswi, Daredevil Musthafa was a pleasant and heart-warming surprise, although, at two hours and 40 minutes, Shashank’s adaptation of the short story felt a tad too long drawn out. The protagonists in the tale are a bunch of newbie youngsters, each of who fills his/her character with so much life that it becomes difficult to believe that this is their first onscreen appearance. It would be disservice to point out only a couple of names and sing their praises. Yes, the story focused on a few from the first PUC classroom at Abachuru College, but hey, even those who remained nameless faces contributed their bit. Shashank made some very clever choices with his cast, with the adults never stealing the limelight from the young ones, and offering them all the support needed to make the film a genuinely good watch.

A still from the film
A still from the film

Verdict: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to repeat myself and say, please go watch this film in a theatre. Far more than the box office success of Daredevil Musthafa, what is also important is that its message is amplified to give us hope that we, as a society, have not become complete degenerates after all.


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