Kaagaz Review: Pankaj Tripathi is flawless in this real life portrayal of Lal Bihari Mritak, the man who was declared dead

Kaagaz Review

Pankaj Tripathi has taken a place in the cinema world where he’s made not only his audiences but also the critics believe that if he’s part of a script, there has to be some sort of magic in it.

Even before I started watching Tripathi’s recent launch on ZEE5, I was sure to be able to witness some fireworks in his performance. Well, turns out, I wasn’t too wrong after all.

Kaagaz released on ZEE5 on January 7, 2021. The Satish Kaushik directed movie stars, Pankaj Tripathi, as a real-life character, Bharat Lal Mritak (Lal Bihari in real life) from Uttar Pradesh, who has been declared dead on paper by his paternal Uncle to avoid giving him his property share. This is a real-life incident, and it actually took Lal Bihari 19 years to be able to prove himself alive on paper.

The story is all about Lal Bihari and his fight with the system to get his name omitted from the list of the dead. Pankaj Tripathi is magic on screen, and with each performance, he manages to prove that. This man not only adds his own distinct bit of flavour in a movie but also ensures that each time, the taste is deliciously different.

The way he holds his role and does justice to every scene will make you believe for those two hours that you are actually watching Lal Bihari on screen. He doesn’t falter even for one moment, and the way he weaves every scene into a beautiful garment is applaudable.

His struggles will make you cry and will constantly keep you on his side. The last I saw of him in was Ludo, and it’s unbelievable how he manages to create a different umbrella for him in every role.


Words are not enough to sing praises of this magical man. In fact, just the thought of missing his movie made me take a premium subscription of ZEE5 today.

Moving on to other characters, Monal Gajjar who plays Tripathi’s better half has actually done a phenomenal job. The 29-year-old has managed to look perfect with the 44-year-old Tripathi and shines on in her role of Rukmani.

Satish Kaushik is a burst of fresh air, who simply adds a certain amount of freshness in the movie with his presence. His narration just adds the right amount of salt which is required to make a dish delicious.

One man that I wouldn’t mind taking away from the movie is Amar Upadhyay, I felt like he wasn’t needed there. In fact, while some of the Bhojpuri songs did remind me of home, most songs could be omitted and weren’t required as such.


The way Uttar Pradesh and its village life has been described keeping in mind the timeline of the 80s is also worth a mention. I love the fact that Bollywood is finally moving towards the small towns in India to create movies rather than going towards exotic destinations.

The movie has been not only been produced by Salman Khan but some part of the narration has also done by him, which I think was a nice touch. So, a bow to him as well for taking up such an issue and helping it reach its destination.


All in all, Kaagaz is a must-watch. Yes, there are some misses, which includes slight drag in the story, random songs fit in between, but Pankaj Tripathi’s performance manages to hide most of these flaws. Because of Tripathi, the way he’s executed his character, and how he’s been able to tell the tale so perfectly, it’s difficult for me to give this movie anything less than 4 stars.

Kaagaz Rating