A mixed bag of things that work and things that don't work, eater Means good. It brings a shocking true story to the screen but does not resort to sensationalism of any kind. It makes its case slowly and steadily without getting ahead of itself.
It focuses on the inmates of an asylum who are tortured by the very people tasked with protecting them. eater Abandons large-scale methods to get his point across. Despite all this, why doesn't the film pack a punch?
This is certainly not due to a willingness to try on the part of lead actress Bhumi Pednekar. She enjoys playing the role of a worried but courageous Patna journalist committed to the ethics of her profession. but there's something missing eater No matter how hard she tries, she cannot pass the paper.
Directed by Pulkit and written by him along with Jyotsna Nath, eater It's very dull for a tough story driven by reality. The film says the right things. Parts of it, just a few scattered parts, are on point. However, it doesn't break any new ground nor is it able to deliver its undeniably essential message with the expected force.
The appalling state of affairs at a shelter for girls in Bihar's Munawwarpur – a fictional town that stands in for Muzaffarpur, which a few years ago was rocked by revelations of sexual abuse in a home run by an NGO – leaves us stunned. What was needed was a struggle in restlessness. This happens with difficulty. Nor do the dark truths it 'exposes' shock us
eater It lacks real tension and energy for the most part, largely because its simplistic directorial style isn't backed up enough by touches that could be considered cinematically noteworthy. Its heart is in the right place. The tools for its expression are certainly not to the desired extent.
It treads with utmost care – an admirable trait when one is dealing with a sensitive issue – and ensures not to be shrill and snarky. While the strategy makes sense, the film allows itself to be dominated by indifference.
To be fair, Pulkit and his tonally consistent screenplay deserve applause for not being too graphic with its depiction of the horrors that occur in the girls' shelter. But, at the same time, it feels like it could have hit even harder with its sharp depiction of the horrific toxicity that exists there.
The film is mired in what feels like a bland, weak view of things. When you look for a sledgehammer blow, it only provides a prickle. It lays out the gruesome facts of the case before the audience largely through sequential sequences.
eater An attempt is made to highlight the deviant activities going on at the asylum, but it is hardly able to fully convey the horrific nature of the crimes taking place there. The film's opening sequence in which an act of despicable evil cuts a young life short comes close to doing this. But that is an exception.
Produced by Gauri Khan and Gaurav Verma of Red Chillies Entertainment and streaming on Netflix, the crime drama stars Vaishali Singh (Pednekar), a journalist and married to post office employee Arvind (Surya Sharma) for six years. Her husband oscillates between doubt and support of his wife's calling.
Vaishali has parted ways with a mainstream media company and runs a simple news channel alone. It is aptly called Try News. When she comes across a devastating social audit report on a shelter, she springs into action. She vows not to rest until the facts are revealed and the culprits are punished.
eater This is not a traditional vigilante thriller. Vaishali Singh has neither the courage nor the resources of a fearless warrior. She is an ordinary girl who is doing her job, asking questions and demanding action, despite serious threats to life and limb.
Accompanied by cameraman Bhaskar Sinha (Sanjay Mishra, effortlessly on the ball as always) – he is her only ally – Vaishali heads to Munavvarpur with the intention of corroborating the findings of the audit report she has.
There, she and Bhaskar meet the politically connected Bansi Sahu (Aditya Srivastava), a cunning shelter home caretaker Sonu (Satyakam Anand) and a child welfare officer Mithilesh Sinha (Chittaranjan Tripathi), who first sets out to investigate Vaishali solo. Interrupt and then, as he continues his investigation, issue a stern warning.
Bansi Sahu, based on the real-life criminal who used his political clout and a self-owned newspaper to protect himself from the law, has at least three publications. He uses his NGO as a front for his nefarious activities. He has no shortage of ammunition. Vaishali is equipped with only a low powered camera and plenty of resolution.
It is a battle of attrition between two mismatched forces. The heroine is not an all-conquering 'hero' in uniform. Yes, he gets help from a senior policeman, SSP Jasmeet Gaur (Sai Tamhankar), who is newly posted in Munawwarpur.
But the latter is well aware of the limits of its authority. Jasmeet tells Vaishali, the system gives you power and also snatches it away from the same hand. In addition to the politicization of policing, eater Takes journalism under scrutiny and takes a dig at the largely social media-obsessed world.
As one character says, the world is full of stupid journalists. Vaishali Singh is not one. But she, too, spits that limit out at zero. “Humans have brains and if we don't speak, we should consider ourselves animals,” she says.
eater Deserves full marks for intention. Its constant restraint works fine, but the mission the lone wolf journalist undertakes in the film seems a little too meandering for its – and the film's – good.
One could have ended this review with “More power to directors like Pulkit”, if the film didn't need more power.
Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra, Aditya Srivastava