When you’re making a movie about a British Pakistani Muslim rapper, it’s always a nice plus when you can actually hire a British Pakistani Muslim rapper. That’s what American documentarian turned feature-length filmmaker Bassam Tariq (“These Birds Walk”) did for “Mogul Mowgli,” a new drama starring actor/rapper Riz Ahmed (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Nightcrawler“). In “Mogul Mowgli,” Ahmed plays British-Pakistani rapper Zed, a fierce MC on the cusp of a major tour and commercial success who returns to England on a family visit, only to be hospitalized with an autoimmune condition.
While Ahmed is known for his acting career in the U.S., his rap career in the U.K. is considered legitimate and respectable, not the kind of comical tourism you might expect if say Channing Tatum started a rap career all of a sudden.
The film co-stars Aiysha Hart and Alyy Khan and has been described as a “vital evocation of the British-Asian experience.” Tariq co-wrote the film with Ahmed, who also produced it. “We chatted for years [before we made it],” Ahmed said about his experience of making the film with Tariq. “We were thinking about similar things: family, art, identity, legacy, inheritance, the whole beautiful mess of being alive in our bodies on this creative journey – separated from family, separated from self but trying to move towards something that you think is going to make you whole, but actually the thing you’re looking for is waiting for you at home.”
Here’s the official synopsis:
British Pakistani rapper Zed (Riz Ahmed) is a rising star on the cusp of his first world tour. But, struck down by an illness that threatens to derail his big break, he’s forced to confront his past, his family, and the uncertainty of his legacy. The debut fiction feature from the award-winning documentary filmmaker Bassam Tariq (These Birds Walk) and co-written, produced by and starring the Emmy award-winning Ahmed, Mogul Mowgli is a bold, vital and electrifying exploration of heritage and identity.
“Mogul Mowgli” debuted at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and makes its U.K. premiere at the BFI London Film Festival U.K. in early October. The film then hits regular cinemas on October 30 in the U.K. Watch the first trailer below.