Three Hindi films were released today, including Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga, Kanjoos Makhichoos, and Bheed. The first two were direct-to-digital while the third premiered in theaters.
Usually, my first preference is the cinema hall but since there were no 9 AM shows of Bheed in my locality, a slight change in plans ensued.
Nevertheless, Bheed has been watched and I can only wholeheartedly apologize for my late review. The film has been making noises for quite a few reasons.
It has been at the center of controversies ever since the trailer release. The producers backed out, fearing political backlash, forcing the team to come up with a trimmed second trailer, which was politically correct.
I don’t remember something like this happening in the past when a YouTube trailer was cut and re-released. Usually, censorship is done with the film’s print itself.
Well, that’s not my concern right now.
So, Bheed is a Hindi film running for a little under two hours. It has been shot in black and white; in line with the dark times of Covid. That’s a first for me.
How does it perform? I will take you through my Bheed review but let’s just get the factual things sorted first.
Bheed Movie Story
It takes us back to the horrific days when India went under a complete lockdown for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020.
The closure forced thousands of migrant workers to return to their villages. But the journey back home was a nightmare as most of them had to walk barefoot while some adjusted themselves inside the trunk of vehicles.
To top it all was a fatal virus waging war on them.
Directed by Anubhav Sinha, Bheed stars Rajkummar Rao (Surya), Bhumi Pednekar (Renu), Pankaj Kapur (Balram), Aditya Srivastava (Ram Singh), Ashutosh Rana (Subhash), Kritika Kamra (Vidhi), and Dia Mirza in lead roles.
What Works for Bheed?
The moment Bheed begins to play on the big screen, you are reminded of a brutal time. I could relate to it as the surroundings seemed familiar, the setup looked authentic, and the events never barked exaggeration.
Also, to some extent, the film felt intimidating initially while spreading its arms.
Anubhav Sinha doesn’t only stick to the migratory exodus; he also skillfully blends the plot with social stigmas. On the way, he does lose the trick sometimes, but not enough to push the viewer away.
Caste prejudices, social structure, the power dynamics are some of the ideas Sinha digs into. This is probably the right time to remind my readers that his previous films include Thappad, Article 15, and Anek.
Furthermore, Bheed is emotionally heartbreaking, an expected outcome. The dilapidated state of affairs is beautifully reflected through the black-and-white lens.
Covid-19 was so horrendous that no one can authoritatively differentiate fiction from reality in Bheed. At some point, such events did unfold two years ago.
You get to witness a love story of socially unequal individuals, children crying for food, a privileged brat struggling to make amends, and a reporter trying to do her ‘real’ job, among other interesting premises in Bheed.
All this is finely portrayed by an able cast. In fact, calling it ‘able’ would be an understatement.
Overall, the makers have hit the jackpot, in my personal opinion, with the delicate depiction of the tragedy, given that you watch Bheed in a theater.
As I keep saying, skipping a good film in the cinema hall is a crime. You would always feel underwhelming streaming it on your phone.
How Do the Lead Actors Perform?
Rajkummar Rao delivers a flawless performance. I mean why do we even judge him? Film after film, the actor is growing like a mountain. His detailed expressions exhibit the ongoing sequence in a wholesome manner.
How easily he mixes with the surroundings and grabs even the last trait of the character is amazing. Dialogues, the dialect, the mien, you just name it; Rao aces everything.
Bhumi Pednekar never disappoints. She has this uncanny ability of mastering scenes instinctively. Her impromptu way of delivering dialogues is at a supreme level in Bheed.
Ashutosh Rana, the veteran master, deftly delves into an authoritative ride. His cop attitude comes to the fore in the most righteous manner, talking from the art point of view.
The effervescent Pankaj Kapur indicates what is inherently wrong with our society. Maybe, harsh truths coming from his character would usher in a positive discussion regarding what went wrong during the pandemic.
Aditya Srivastava who we all know from the iconic TV show, CID, charms you with a dexterous stint in Bheed. He gets into the skin of an ostentatious police officer and excellently marches ahead.
Kritika Kamra is resolute as a news reporter. The reflective pauses in her voice indicate her growing acting capabilities.
And, finally, Dia Mirza. The glorious actress has a curtailed screen presence in Bheed but in one of the scenes, she cries and that’s when you realize her importance in the narrative.
What Doesn’t Work for Bheed?
Sinha scatters his vision intermittently, losing out on several other prospective cruelties. But, what else could he have done when a mere voiceover in his trailer had to be trimmed on YouTube, and his producer distanced himself from the film?
Should you watch Bheed?
It is tough to make films that are even meekly critical of the Government let alone complete and release them in the theaters when political bandwagons are waiting to burn down cinema halls.
That’s why I say, Bheed isn’t perfect but it is the most extensive attempt that could have been made in today’s times.
Painting a rosy picture is easy. It can send a positive message among the masses that everything is hunky-dory. What about the people who actually went through the Covid exodus?
Did optimism feed them back then? No! It was the reality that made life hard.
Sometimes, we ask why are certain types of films not being made. Bheed is that film.
Watching Bheed is your choice. I would recommend it for sure.