Writer-director-producer Anurag Kashyap is back at the top of his game in The Brawler, an unconventional boxing film and love story that offers a barbed critique of India’s much-abused caste system, religious intolerance and the political corruption that permeates society. A hybrid genre of his own devising combines Bollywood mainstream action and pacing […] with art house themes and engrossing characters. [The film is] [p]acked with energy, humor, melodrama and fun […].
Thematically recalling the 2014 biopic Mary Kom that had Priyanka Chopra rolling with the punches as India’s great Olympic woman boxing champ, this story about the rise of a local fighter to national competition is also inspired by true events. Shravan (Vineet Kumar Singh in his third acting turn for Kashyap) is a muscle-bound guy from Uttar Pradesh who is training under abusive boss Bhagwan Das (played with icy villainy by Jimmy Shergill). […] When they get into a tiff and Shravan lands a punch on Das’ face, time stands still. A frantic chase begins, with the boss’ henchmen in hot pursuit of the would-be boxer.
Along with exciting, densely packed visuals shot by four cinematographers, the music track is one of the film’s main assets: loud, pounding, mocking and controlling.
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter