“Bhakshak” Review: Bhumi Pednekar’s film exhibits a resolute sense of conviction

Netflix is now airing “Bhakshak,” which was directed by Pulkit and stars Bhumi Pednekar.

The fundamental idea of Bhakshak is a tired one: a well-meaning reporter with little to no support faces out against strong men who are attempting to conceal the truth. However, Bhakshak’s unwavering faith in its own tale allows it to transcend its own premise.

A small-town reporter named Vaishali Singh (Bhumi Pednekar) makes the decision to launch her own channel in order to avoid the difficulties of working for a big corporation. She makes an effort to cover important subjects, but sadly, not many people watch her channel. Her conscience won’t let her let an audit report that will soon be just another file collecting dust be sent to her by her regular source.

While Bhakshak is far from flawless, it is an earnest movie, which is very uncommon in the “film space” of today. Watching the film’s opening scene can be unsettling due to its extreme cruelty. Although it does, in fact, verge on being exploitative, the movie handles the subject of assault in a compassionate manner overall. Films and television programmes that address assault frequently take an exploitative approach, employing horrific acts of abuse against minorities and women for shock value, which causes more harm than good. However, Bhakshak has greater faith in its viewers’ empathy. not to need this unnecessary exploitation in order to understand the clear message.

Instead, the film by director Pulkit focuses on the dark reality that is created by the interplay between power and justice. It has never been simple to pursue activism or truthful journalism, and the movie does a good job of conveying that it is also not.

This is the story of David versus Goliath in the digital age, when bravery is more complicated than a single act of resistance. It is not a story of a saviour showing up and making everything all right in the end. However, resisting evil remains one of the most effective strategies. That’s the grey area where Bhakshak works.

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"Bhakshak" Review: Bhumi Pednekar's film exhibits a resolute sense of conviction
“Bhakshak” Review: Bhumi Pednekar’s film exhibits a resolute sense of conviction

While attempting to portray Vaishali as a hero, the movie doesn’t downplay her gender identity. Her spouse, who initially seemed supportive, immediately takes away her agency when she defies him. Her family also looks down on her because of her gender. Ultimately, she is functioning inside a patriarchal environment. Her lack of luxury to overlook what is going on at the shelter house also contributes to her empathy.

The MLA Bansi Sahu (Aditya Srivastava), the film’s main antagonist, is made possible by power and patriarchy. Because those in positions of authority permit his actions, he is naturally terrifying. Srivastava, who is most known for playing the endearing Inspector Abhijeet in CID, infuses his role with a threat that is difficult to ignore in this scene.Bansi Sahu cannot be saved; he is the worst of the worst. However, we never see Vaishali’s husband’s inner monologue, and his salvation appears to come too easily.

Perhaps that’s because Vaishali’s impassioned speech is supposed to be the direct result, but things are never that simple. The topic of convenience does come up a few more times throughout the movie. An eyewitness, for example, is readily persuaded (again, by passion) and her testimony seems too easy. She lacks the time that Vaishali’s character has to consider her alternatives.

Vaishali seems to be waging a losing battle on multiple occasions; Bhakshak doesn’t act as though her struggle is simple. The writing is always tense since anything might go wrong at any moment. Will Vaishali be successful? Will there be lasting justice for the children?

While you’re thinking about these issues, the movie poses a moral query: have we grown numb to the sorrow of others? An appropriate question to pose.

Finally, let’s talk about the performance by the main actor. To her rightful credit, Bhumi Pednekar is one of the few performers working today that selects meaningful projects. That’s presumably why she was dubbed the “headstrong small-town woman”—a group that’s hardly ever shown in popular movies. Pednekar has demonstrated her acting prowess in roles in films such as Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Badhaai Do, Afwaah, Bheed, and the sadly underappreciated Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare. 

Vaishali Singh is a strong woman who is well aware of the repercussions of her actions. She is always resisting giving in to a fear that many people around her share, and the rawness of the performance eloquently captures this. Although some of the more didactic passages detract from Pednekar’s unique relatability, everything is cohesively done.

Sanjay Mishra’s performance is also worth mentioning. This is the last item I included since, given their respective personalities, it must be discussed in relation to Pednekar’s. Bhaskar, Vaishali’s cameraman (Mishra), serves as an ally, confidant, and sounding board for her. Is there anyone who can criticise Mishra’s acting? Their on-screen relationship is made even more credible by the actors’ chemistry.

With more people preferring amusement over content and seldom recognising that it doesn’t have to be either-or, films like Bhakshak run the risk of getting lost in the clamour. Although Bhakshak has its share of problems, its message is genuine enough to make the movie worthwhile seeing.

Furthermore, Vaishali Singh’s ending monologue is too powerful to overlook, even though I generally detest them. After watching this movie, reflect on your emotions. I contend that reflecting on the questions is even more crucial.

 

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