An undercover cop goes into the big bad world of Ranapura, which is run by a feared don. This world that is filled with blood and gore ensures he finally gets to meet the don once he proves his worth. What happens when he gets to know the don and his modus operandi forms the rest of this narrative.

Narthan M, who comes from the stables of Prashant Neel, makes his debut with an equally stylish film in Mufti, where two stars are pitted against each other as a cop and an underworld don. The film begins with an introduction to the dark dreadful world of Ranapura. The tale is interesting and has some gripping moments, but one wonders if the style at times overpowers the twists that are crucial to building the characters.

The premise for Mufti is simple, as the title suggests. An undercover cop in guise of a member of the don goes into the system to take it on. What elevates the film is the title, which also works for the don that he targets, who has his own motives for the path that he has chosen. The film has the needed mass introductions and fights, but these don’t go overboard and there is a dichotomy that plays in the mind of the protagonist through the course of the film, which is handled through subtlety. There is ample blood shed in the film, but this has the treatment of a Hollywood Western drama, with the cinematography and background score lifting the scenes.

The film has some terrific performances. While one might feel Sriimurali still has a hangover from Ugramm, his agility in fights and intensity in certain crucial scenes draw whistles. Shivarajkumar enters at a critical point in the narrative and his swagger and body language, coupled with the Robin Hood-like role gets you to root for him too. Devaraj, Vasishta N Simha and Madhu Guruswamy leave their mark with their respective characters and deliver roles that linger on.

Mufti might not be that completely flawless film, but that is its essence, for it shows how there are multiple hues of grey between the black and white that most stick to when judging people. This is definitely one of the more interesting narratives that have been told on Sandalwood screen this year and it is worth that visit to the halls if intriguing and innovative commercial dramas are what you like.