Of all the British actors who have made their breakthrough over the past decade, it’s perhaps Riz Ahmed who has made the biggest impression. Since coming to prominence in Four Lions back in 2010, he has starred in a number of films and TV series, including Nightcrawler, The Night Of, City of Tiny Lights and The OA. His new film Mogul Mowgli, which he co-writes with director Bassam Tariq, is his most personal project yet.
After two years on the road, ‘Zed’ (Ahmed) is finally going back to see his family in London, before embarking on his biggest tour yet. Whilst Zaheer’s music deals with his British-Pakistani identity, it’s not until he returns home that he begins to face up to his past and what that means for the present. After being diagnosed with a degenerative illness which threatens to derail his big break, he finally begins to consider what is important to him.
Mogul Mowgli is a film about a man who can’t move on with his life until his faces up to the realities of his heritage. Tariq’s film considers what it is to be a second-generation migrant and the role that inherited identity plays in a modern multicultural society. Ahmed is phenomenal as the lead in a truly muscular performance, whilst Tariq’s direction and Annika Summerson unflinching cinematography makes Moghul Mowgli an urgent, disturbing and challenging experience.
Mogul Mowgli screens at London Film Festival until 13 October and is out in UK cinemas on 30 October.