Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Dia Mirza, Kritika Kamra, Pankaj Kapur & Ashutosh Rana
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Rating: 3 Moons
Chaos, violence and fear erupts when East Indian workers hit a checkpoint during a COVID-19 lockdown that restricts travel. That's what Anubhav Sinha's black and white Bheed is all about. It starts off as a film that talks about the hard-hitting reality of social disparity when borders were drawn within the country during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown but it soon turns into a hostage-drama. Starring Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Pankaj Tripathi, Dia Mirza, Kritika Kamra & Ashutosh Rana, Bheed captures the pulse of our nation at the time when we were going through a very difficult period.
The story of the 1-hour-54-minute-long film begins with the harsh footage of 16 migrant workers being crushed under a train as they're resting on the tracks while walking to their village amid the first lockdown. It then moves to Head Police Yadav (Ashutosh Rana) appointing Surya Kumar Singh Tikas (Rajkummar Rao) as the checkpost in charge to tackle the migrant workers who are finding ways to cross state borders to reach home. Surya, who now uses 'Singh' as his surname instead of 'Tikas' is fighting his own inner demons in a society where he has always been looked down upon because of his lower caste.
With full support from his doctor-girlfriend Renu Sharma (Bhumi Pednekar), Surya starts his day as the checkpost in charge, only to clash with watchman Trivedi, who is finding ways to make sure his family and all other migrant workers are allowed to cross the border and reach their homes safely. Reporting live all the heartbreaking events simultaneously is Reporter Vidhi Prabhakar (Kritika Kamra). When the situation worsens due to shortage of food, Surya takes charge to go against the so-called rules made by his seniors and fight against the unfair practices against the less-privileged.
Bheed reminds us of the vast suffering of millions during the lockdown and captures countless human stories of loss, heartbreak, and helplessness that have never been documented fully. The film also reminds us how quickly we forget tragedies that have not impacted us directly. It's just been 3 years ever since COVID-19 hit us all but it feels like centuries ago and Anubhav Sinha's brutally honest film is a sad reminder. It shows the sad classism that still very much exists in India. What doesn't work for the film though is the unwanted transition of the genre. What starts off as a social drama soon turns into a hostage situation that doesn't seem too apt for the storyline. It feels unnecessary and dragged.
Kudos to the entire star cast for presenting Bheed with full emotions. Rajkummar Rao is superlative in his portrayal of a conflicted ‘in-charge'. Bhumi, even with much lesser screenspace, makes an impact with her role. Pankaj Kapur is the true hero of the film. The way the veteran actor portrays each and every emotion with so much honesty is commendable. He makes us feel sympathetic toward each and every migrant worker. Kritia Kamra, Dia Mirza, Ashutosh Rana and Aditya Srivastava put their best acting foot forward. Special shoutout to Aditi Subedi for heart heartbreaking portrayal of a young girl struggling with her drunkard father.
Anubhav Sinha is a master of telling real-life stories, and this film is no different. It's an important story written by Anubhav, Saumya Tiwari and Sonali Jain. Soumik Mukherjee's cinematography efficiently captures the misery of the lower-class during the lockdown. Atanu Mukherjee's black-and-white editing takes the cake. It adds the essence and emotions to Bheed. Anurag Saikia’s music is simple & apt.
PeepingMoon gives Bheed 3 Moons!