Sanjeet Singh’s review published on Letterboxd:
Anubhav Sinha was never the kind of filmmaker, for whose films I'd actually wait for. Mulk last year was a surprise, because I remember not even liking the trailer, but it turned out to be a really great film. After tackling Islamophobia in his previous film, he goes all out to make people uncomfortable portraying caste system in the most real way.
Ayushmaan Khurana's Ayan Ranjan is basically the character portraying the audience, the more his character learns about the situation, the local world and the caste politics, the audience learns about all of this with him. During the opening 10-15 minutes, all of this is set up quite well, when he views a cop beat up a local man, there is a portrait shot of his Ayushmaan's character, and then post that everything we as an audience experience is basically what Ayushmaan's character does. We feel pain, shock, tension, whatever he feels, and his acting chops give it a more authentic feel to it.
It's a classic way of putting an alien character in a society about which he has no idea about and lets him have his experience through all of that, in PK's case that was quite literal.
But this character has similar fabric of Tapsee's character in Mulk, for example, she was an outsider, and a Hindu, protecting her Muslim in-laws. Similar to that Ayushmaan's character is an outsider, and high caste Brahmin-hindu and becomes a sort of saviour. I think it has a lot of directors own fabric as well. He's a Hindu, and he feels the flawed nature of his religion isn't taking him anywhere, he's making these films to make a statement instead of just ranting on twitter. He's a character who's making these films, and calling out what he feels is wrong.
Subtlety is not one of the best parts of the film, but it's okay, because it remains consistent with its approach. In one of the beginning moments, Ayan Ranjan refers the place as still stuck in the 1980s Bollywood era, which probably explains that, I guess. A few things may bother you, but overall it is very effective, like a punch to your gut.
A lot can be spoken about the characters of the film. No character exists solely to service the plot, they have their own existence and their own arc. Like in the previous film Rajat Kapoor's Danish Javed was a brilliantly written character, I personally liked Zeeshan Ayub's Nishad.
I feel this is a more confident outing for Anubhav Sinha, he seemed in complete control and successfully blends all the filmmaking components to make this great film.