Anurag Kashyap’s name will always be synonymous with the desi gangster genre in India. And it seems like the makers of Mirzapur have adapted his narrative style without any of his flamboyance. Mirzapur is set in a washed up Kashyap universe that is trying too hard to please longtime Kashyap loyalists.
The story of Mirzapur is about a local drug lord Kaleen Bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi) whose son Munna (Divyendu) is trying too hard to take his place but lacks any of his diplomatic or criminal skills. His position is in danger after two local boys Guddu (Ali Fazal) and Bablu (Vikrant Massey) beat him up to their own surprise.
Just in the initial episodes, we are told that there is no one that we can root for. One is a bad guy and the others are competing to be worse. This is not necessarily a bad thing but the plan falters as we are left with no character to hold on to. Even for stories with antagonists as the lead, the audience needs a hero. The hero might be a bad guy but to make a compelling point, a hero is of utmost importance (Case in point: Netflix’s Sacred Games where Gaitonde successfully becomes the hero while being a negative character).
Mirzapur’s world is the kind which we have visited ever so often in Kashyap’s films. So, it comes as no surprise when innocent bystanders are left handicapped or dead. The show tries to surprise the audience with some anti-climactic twists in a few scenes but you can already see them coming.
As far as the performances are concerned, Pankaj Tripathi is captivating. Tripathi has made a name for himself for creating memorable characters and he is no different here. Ali Fazal comes as a surprise in the first few episodes but his character does not seem to have any loyalties. From aspiring to be like Munna to threatening him in front of his drug lord father, he flips so swiftly that one wonders in confusion. Vikrant Massey plays the innocent docile boy and we are hoping that his character will find a direction in the upcoming episodes. Divyendu is given a big responsibility but much like his over-zealous character, his work feels over the top.
Amazon Prime Video has previously tried to establish their domain with shows like Inside Edge and Breathe but they are yet to create a show that could give stiff competition to Netflix’s Sacred Games.
The nine episodes of Mirzapur are available on Amazon Prime Video.