Mukkabaaz (Hindi pronunciation: [mʊkkaːbaːz]), released internationally as The Brawler, is a 2017 Indian sports drama film co-written, co-produced and directed by Anurag Kashyap. Jointly produced by Aanand L. Rai’s Colour Yellow Productions and Phantom Films, the film stars Vineet Kumar Singh, debutant Zoya Hussain, Ravi Kishan and Jimmy Shergill in the lead roles. It follows Shravan Kumar (Singh), an aspiring boxer, who falls in love with the niece of the boxing federation head, Bhagwan Das Mishra (Shergill). Kashyap, Singh, Mukti Singh Srinet, K.D.Satyam, Ranjan Chandel and Prasoon Mishra wrote the script. Aarti Bajaj and Ankit Bidyadhar edited the film, while Shanker Raman, Rajeev Ravi and Jayesh Nair served as the directors of photography.
Mukkabaaz was conceived by Singh, who wrote it with his sister Mukti Singh, based on his observations of several sportspersons’ experiences in India. Several producers rejected it until Kashyap agreed to make the film if Singh would become a real boxer. To prepare, Singh went to the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, where he trained in boxing for a year.
Mukkabaaz premiered in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was also screened at the 2017 Mumbai Film Festival. It was released theatrically in India on 12 January 2018 and received mostly positive reviews, with particular praise for Singh’s performance. The film grossed ₹10.51 crore (US$1.5 million) at the box office. At the 64th Filmfare Awards, it received three nominations including Best Actor (Critics) for Vineet and Best Story for Anudeep Singh. Vikram Dahiya and Sunil Rodrigues won the award for Best Action.
Shravan Singh is a struggling boxer who works for a local politician and head of the State Boxing Federation, Bhagwan Das Mishra. He drifts away after Mishra has him perform only domestic tasks and errands rather than boxing training. Singh falls in love with Mishra’s niece, Sunaina, who is mute. Her father tells him to get a job first before thinking about marrying her. For the job, Singh tries to enter the state-level tournament but is not selected because of Mishra. He then leaves for Varanasi and is trained by a local trainer, Sanjay Kumar.
Singh defeats Mishra’s boxer and wins a medal, after which he gets a job with the Indian Railways. Singh and Sunaina are married as her father promised. However, Mishra despises the marriage and threatens his brother. Singh tries to balance his job, training, family life and learning sign language at Sunaina’s request. Meanwhile, his boss at the office tries to harass him by putting too much work pressure on him. Mishra gets Sunaina’s father fired from his job and expels her family from their home. They go to their ancestral village to live but are held captive by Mishra’s goons in his village house. Mishra also breaks his brother’s leg.
Later, at Sanjay Kumar’s house, both Kumar and Singh are attacked by a mob after being falsely accused of eating beef. Kumar is seriously injured in the attack and is admitted to an ICU; Singh survives the attack. He then tries to find Sunaina but fails; meanwhile, she is forcefully engaged by Mishra to a businessman with a disability, for money. Singh fights and qualifies for the final of a national tournament. Sunaina and her mother manage to call Singh and tell him of their whereabouts. Singh goes there and rescues Sunaina and her family. Mishra manages to disqualify Singh on health grounds but reinstates him after Singh apologises; Mishra also requires that Singh will have to lose the match and retire from boxing. Singh loses the final match.
Vineet Kumar Singh as Shravan Kumar Singh
Zoya Hussain as Sunaina Mishra
Jimmy Sheirgill as Bhagwan Das Mishra
Sadhana Singh as Meera, Sunaina’s mother
Ravi Kishan as Sanjay Kumar
Shakti Kumar as Bhatia
Rajesh Tailang as Shravan’s father
Shreshtha Gupta as Shravan’s mother
Shree Dhar Dubey as Gopal Tiwari
Chittaranjan Tripathy as Krishna Kant Yadav
Sukhesh Mishra as Gopal Das
Shikha Chauhan as Guddi, Shravan’s sister
Abhay Joshi as Inspector
Neeraj Goyat as a professional boxer
Deepak Tanwar as a boxer
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the Baaraat singer