Similar to Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed returns as a talented musician, who is in danger of losing his career due to physical limitations. Not only acting in front of the camera, this time Ahmed also made his scriptwriting debut with the director, Bassam Tariq, who has been appointed to direct the MCU version of Blade.
Ahmed’s character is Zaheer, a British rapper of Pakistani descent with the stage name Zed. Slowly but surely his career is going up. Tickets for his concert were sold out, with hundreds of people singing his verses, many of which voiced the hearts of immigrants. The golden opportunity came, when he got an offer to open a famous musician tour. Best Movie Site
While vocally raising issues about his origins, Zed is rarely among the “people”. He had not been home for about two years. In fact, he views negatively traditional things, such as Pakistani music and religious rituals. On stage, Zed is proud of his identity, but he tends to distance himself from the things that define that identity.
Until suddenly, Zed suffers from an autoimmune disease. His muscle strength continued to decline. Never mind going on a tour, just standing is difficult. Zed who had been running all this time, even ready to jump to fly, now had to start learning to walk again.
Consciously or not, we may have been in Zed’s position. To speak about diversity by being proud of one’s identity (for example, as an Asian who opposes the hegemony of the Western world), but is even uncomfortable when confronted with the values upheld by our own culture. There is an identity crisis due to the clash of modern and traditional perspectives. Between “mogul” and “mowgli”. Top Movie
This identity crisis is Mogul Mowgli’s main focus. “Your body can’t recognize itself, so it attacks itself”, the doctor described Zed’s condition. A bit impressed “on the nose”, but the choice of the disease is indeed a suitable metaphor to represent the inner struggle of the protagonist. But why?
Why did Zed deny his true identity? Is it because of the trauma of childhood suffering? Or the influence of racism? The script provides answers through a series of surreal sequences, both dreams and hallucinations that Zed experiences (including the appearance of a man with a flower-covered face called “Toba Tek Singh”). The use of elements of surrealism, unfortunately, only stops at the realm of “visualization of the contents of the mind” rather than a full exploration of the individual’s inner processes.
Moreover, there are so many ideas thrown by the script. Some just end up as ideas without further exploration, either to add to the audience’s understanding, or to make an emotional impact. For example information about Zed’s disease, which may be triggered by heredity. Does it make him hate his father (Alyy Khan) even more, whom Zed considers to often get in the way of his dreams? So how did Zed get to the point where he could make peace? The processes are like being swallowed up by the ambition to look different and aesthetically pleasing. As a result, the conclusion becomes less evocative, because the story seems to be rolling without a bridge to get there.
One thing I appreciate from the script is the fair impression in his speech about the friction of the times. The modern side has a tendency to look down on the traditional, but some of the orthodoxy of the traditional side, such as the reluctance to trust doctors, does not mean it can be justified.
Riz Ahmed’s scriptwriting debut has not gone smoothly. His relatable story with high relevance is still underdeveloped. But Riz Ahmed as an actor is not like that. As usual, his acting is the best element of a film. Its fragility is the foundation of Mogul Mowgli. Once his frustration peaked, when Zed had a breakdown, then “evicted” his parents, it was really heartbreaking. Movie Review