On the brink of his big break, Zed (Riz Ahmed) instead finds his plans reduced to rubble. Rather than embarking on an international tour, the New York-based British-Pakistani rapper grapples with a degenerative autoimmune disorder that forces him to reconnect with his estranged London family. Zed’s aggressive treatments trigger hallucinations, leaving him reconciling his repressed memories with the legacy of trauma inherited from his father’s exodus from India during Partition.
A rapper himself, Ahmed convinces on the mike, unleashing high velocity, vitriolic rhymes. However, the true power of Bassam Tariq’s film comes from its deft understanding of the unique lot of the bi-cultural artist. To paraphrase Jennifer Dwight: you may be done with your cultural heritage but your cultural heritage may not be done with you. Suitably confrontational in its exploration of self-expression and cultural responsibility, Mogul Mowgli doesn’t mince words as it articulates the culture clash churning within its transfixing central figure.
"This is gutsy, spiky, imperfect independent filmmaking that finds the formal gusto to complement and buoy its star’s aggressive dynamism…"- Guy Lodge, Variety
FIPRESCI Prize, Berlin Panorama 20
Includes an interview with Director: Bassam Tariq
Riz Ahmed, Alyy Khan, Sudha Buchar, Nabhaan Rizwan, Anjana Vasan
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Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.
Bassam Tariq is a writer and director from New York. He recently won the Short Film Jury Prize at Sundance for Ghosts of Sugar Land (2019) which is distributed by Netflix. His first feature documentary, These Birds Walk, premiered at SXSW and is distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories. Bassam is a TED Fellow and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film”. Mogul Mowgli is his debut narrative feature.
Photo: ©Ryan Lash
These Birds Walk (2013); 11/8/16 (2017)