Mogul Mowgli Parent Guide
This film manages to explore big, complex issues without killing the pacing or making it too complex to understand.
Parent Movie Review
With its venues, talent scouts, and record executives, New York is a great place to be for an aspiring British-Pakistani rapper like Zed (Riz Ahmed). He’s struck it lucky and is about to go on a major tour which should give his career a boost. Before it begins, he decides to stop in London and visit the family he hasn’t seen in two years. While in London, Zed starts to notice some weakness in his leg, which then spreads throughout his body. Doctors inform him that he’s suffering from a degenerative autoimmune disorder that requires immediate attention…attention that’s going to prevent him from going on tour.
Now, while Riz Ahmed just picked up an Oscar nomination for his performance as a musician with medical problems in Sound of Metal, this is a very different film. Mogul Mowgli is focused primarily on Zed’s cultural identity, his struggles with his family, and intergenerational trauma. As immigrants to the UK in the wake of the 1947 Partition of India, Zed’s family has plenty of trauma to go around – even without dealing with racism and prejudice after their arrival.
This is an ambitious movie, one that moves beyond the standard tropes of musical films. The script explores big, emotionally fraught, and complex topics. Since I’m far from an expert on either Pakistani history or racism in the UK, I’m don’t feel qualified to judge how well the movie addresses them. But from what I do know, it’s apparent that the filmmakers managed to explore multiple aspects of these issues without killing the pacing or making the film too complex or abstract to follow.
Given its deep topics, Mogul Mowgli clearly isn’t aimed at family audiences – and the five dozen sexual expletives are yet another reason to keep this flick away from kids. I also doubt that young viewers have much interest in films quite this cerebral or introspective. In addition, I caution non-Brits that you may want to watch this on a platform with subtitles. The non-English sections are captioned, but Ahmed’s London accent can be difficult to track when he’s rapping.
If the movie’s complexity doesn’t scare you off, I can recommend Mogul Mowgli for adults who enjoy serious drama and can tolerate lots of swearing. The film can be challenging, but it’s worth the mental effort it asks you to invest. The production is rich with culture and symbolism, and provokes thoughtful discussion. And if that doesn’t interest you, then the performances from the cast will. Trust me on this one.Directed by Bassam Tariq. Starring Riz Ahmed, Anjana Vasan, Aiysha Hart. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release September 3, 2021. Updated September 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for Mogul Mowgli
Rating & Content Info
Why is Mogul Mowgli rated Not Rated? Mogul Mowgli is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: There are scenes which portray medical procedures and involve small amounts of blood. Corpses are seen in a flashback. Individuals are seen fighting in the street.
Sexual Content: There are a few crude sexual references. Women are seen twerking. A song is heard which has graphic lyrics.
Profanity: There are 62 sexual expletives, 14 scatological curses, and occasional uses of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are seen drinking socially and smoking marijuana.
Page last updated September 2, 2021
Mogul Mowgli Parents' Guide
What are diasporas? How does the Pakistani diaspora affect Zed’s story? What is intergenerational trauma? How is it depicted in this movie? What was the Partition of India? How many people died during Partition?
Wikipedia: Partition of India
The Washington Post: 70 years later, survivors recall the horrors of India-Pakistan partition
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre provides a thoroughly researched account of Partition and the creation of the independent nations of India and Pakistan.
First person accounts of survivors of partition are shared in Urvashi Butalia’s The Other Side of Silence: Voices form the Partition of India.
The political factors behind Partition are covered in detail by Nisid Hajari in Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition.
The relationship between Pakistan and India has been both turbulent and violent. For background on the conflicts, you can read Making Peace with Partition by Radha Kumar.
Related home video titles:
Riz Ahmed stars as a drummer who’s losing his hearing in the Oscar winning film Sound of Metal.
In Viceroy’s House, director Gurinder Chadha tells a fictional story that parallels her own family’s experience with the partition of India and Pakistan. The political history that led up to Partition is partially covered in the biopic, Gandhi.