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Mogul Mowgli Image

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

Director Icon Director
Bassam Tariq

Riz Ahmed, Alyy Khan, Sudha Buchar, Nabhaan Rizwan, Anjana Vasan
Producer Thomas Benksi, Bennett Mcghee, Riz Ahmed, Michael Peay
Screenwriter Bassam Tariq, Riz Ahmed
Cinematographer Annika Summerson
Editor Adam Biskupski, Hazel Baillie
Production Design Francesca Massariol
Music Paul Corley
Production Company BBC Films, Pulse Films, Cinereach, Silvertown Films
Source Pacific Northwest Pictures
UK/USA 2020 90 min. English, Urdu with English subtitles Review | Review
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Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.

Tariq, Bassam headshot


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)

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