‘Bhakshak’ movie review: Bhumi Pednekar powers a well-intentioned drama that is caught between text and subtext

Feb 9, 2024


A scene from 'Bhakta'

A scene from 'Bhakta'

Based on a horrific crime against destitute children, director Pulkit stays away from the sensationalist eaterBut the aesthetic rigor that turns a hard news story into an entertaining piece of cinema is sorely missing.

These days, some content on streaming platforms sounds like progressive statements from a political party that are well-intentioned but not delivered effectively. eater (Predator) Another name has been added to the list of well-intentioned revelations about what is wrong with the system. It avoids sensationalism but suffers from the outsider's eye.

Based on the horrific 2018 Muzaffarpur shelter home case that shocked the country, it gives the impression that the project has been given the green signal because it is based on a true incident and the creatives have done some basic homework to retain the urban audience. Have done. Invested. The aesthetic rigor that turns a hard-hitting news story into an entertaining piece of cinema is sorely missing.

Read this also Bhumi Pednekar on her first boutique hotel, Kaia in Goa, slow lifestyle and disruptive technology

It feels like a dull visual essay where the director serves pulpy text and subtext on the table, leaving little room for the audience to read and experience. Perhaps that is why even experienced actors like Sanjay Mishra and Aditya Srivastava look like stock characters.

Bhumi Pednekar is making bold choices by choosing subjects that have socio-political significance in our times. Here she plays Vaishali, a fearless journalist who runs a local news channel with a grumpy, aging cameraman Bhaskar (Mishra).

One day, an informant gives Vaishali an alarming social audit report on a shelter home run by the politically influential Bansi Sahu (Srivastava). The report accuses Bansi and his associates of sexually assaulting prisoners and therefore putting them at risk of being buried. The interesting thing is that the journalist did not bother to talk to the people who conducted the social audit. He had a first-person account and this should have mattered to the writers because their work was full of risk. But perhaps they wanted to make it a heroine film. Vaishali is looking for a witness who will make us doubt her journalistic skills. Luckily, he found a cook who had worked in a shelter home. The way she tells her story feels awkward and very convenient; Similarly, a public interest litigation has suddenly come up. Struggling to keep her activism under control, Vaishali is harassed by her own family as they find her passion risky. There is nothing new in the way Pulkit has portrayed her husband and brother-in-law as products of patriarchy.

The film then shows the struggle of journalists in small towns to rigorously report big news. This may not always be morally correct, but local news stories are driven by reports and video leaks, not long-winded pious passages in front of the camera. And once that happens, big media will have to pick it up. Here it seems that the voice of the film is speaking from the Vaishali edit page.

She spends the entire film trying to find her feet as the more worldly wise Bhaskar keeps asking her absurd questions. In the real world, you need better strategies to trap predators. But then you also need a steady flow of content to fill the streaming platform's library.

Eater is currently streaming on Netflix

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