L. KENT WOLGAMOTT Lincoln Journal Star
In 2020, Riz Ahmed won a well-deserved Oscar nomination for playing a drummer losing his hearing in “Sound of Metal”.
In “Mogul Mowgli”, Ahmed is even more intense and vulnerable as an Anglo-Pakistani rapper who finds himself stricken with a mysterious illness as he takes his big break.
This is the only parallel between the two films, however, because “Mogul Mowgli” is a much more difficult image that unfolds in culture shocks, a revisiting of personal, family and national history, memory and hallucinations. .
“Mogul Mowgli” opens in New York, where Zed (Ahmed) raps, delivering a powerful cultural assault called “Fast Lava”, a song that comes from Ahmed’s album, “The Long Goodbye” – he can really spit, by the way.
This performance, in part, gives the struggling rapper a top spot on a European tour, possibly his last chance to do so. But it comes with strings – his girlfriend dumps him right after he hears about the tour.
But, even more troubling, the return to London means Zed has to visit his family. There, he finds himself instantly trapped by his past, arguing with his father, Bashir (Alvy Khan), who hates his son’s career choice, being pampered by his mother, who listens to the radio to hear his son’s songs and runs into his uncles and cousins who accuse him of having left their traditional Muslim culture.