A rooted supernatural film that conveys an important social message about the conservation of nature from Amar Kaushik of Stree fame. I’d admit that when I initially heard about the concept, I had thought it would be yet another film that would be spoilt by over-the-top action sequences and poor screenplay. However, that wasn’t the case. A strong acting performance by Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon supported by Deepak Dobriyal, Abhishek Banarjee, and Sharik Khan sets the movie alight with some great humor, realistic action, and on-point editing supported by great VFX. Here are some reasons why you should watch the film.
- Original content
Hindi films have been struggling to come up with quality original content that carries a universal message. Bhediya is successful in this regard by creating a story that is very much rooted in reality and narrating it from a perspective that has not been done before. Sitting through the film, I wasn’t so sure how the story was going to advance, which was a testimonial to the good work that has gone into the screenplay. It was so much fun to see something from a grandma’s tale coming to life, appealing to the inner child in us.
- Grounded dialogues
The hallmark of Stree, Amar Kaushik’s previous directorial venture was its subtle intelligent humor. He has been able to replicate that with timely one-liners, clever usage of music from the past, and using dialects and elements from local culture to his advantage. The humor keeps non-supernatural moments engaged for the audience. Considering this the part of the film where historically makers of the film struggle to engage the audience, the use of realistic humor gives an impression that story is something that can happen around us.
- Characters not defined by conventional boundaries
While creating characters, we’ve seen films slip into the mistake of oversimplifying lead characters by tagging to the stereotypes of good, bad, funny, and so on. Bhediya consciously stays away from it, allowing characters to evolve as the story progresses. Varun’s characters changes with the film from somebody who wants to win at any cost to discovering a socially conscious sensitive side. It is so hard to pigeonhole the character played by Deepak Dobriyal as it exists as a wholesome character that has a distinct purpose of existence and point of view but at the time fulfills the entertainment quotient as well.
- Visuals of Arunachal
The fact that filmmakers choose to shoot in Arunachal adds to the make-belief factor of the film. Much like Kantara, the crux of the film is drawn from the folklore of the location. Showcasing of local languages, accents, references to stories, and superstitions keep the viewer interested and is a welcome change from the tired old scenes of city-based storytelling. The film is able to seamlessly weave into the film the social issues plaguing the region such as the loss of livelihood and land traditionally owned by the indigenous population by means of land encroachment and exploitation of forest resources in the guise of development. All this without sounding preachy.
- Presence of a strong social message
It’s a film that gives you a refreshing take on the problem of the conservation of nature, which is becoming increasingly relevant in this age of climate change conversations. The film doesn’t stop at that. It addresses the issue of overt and covert discrimination of our citizens from North East and in the same breath mocks the idea of an insider or sons & daughters of the soil. It reminds us that role of an oppressor or a discriminator is a constantly changing one and depends upon the context and is not part of an individual’s identity forever. If one decides to step back and superimpose the question of who an insider is and who an outsider is over the film’s story, one would realize that it’s a strong theme that is shining through the movie with respect to Varun Dhavan’s role with the film.
In many ways, Bhediya becomes a symbol that stands against oppressive forces, stands up for the powerless, and believes in the inherent goodness of people. Perhaps this is the Minnal Murali moment that the Hindi film industry deserves and perhaps the start of a bigger dream – a supernatural multiverse.
- Desk, I. T. W. (2022, December 11). Karan Johar feels Bollywood lacks the conviction to make original content: ‘We started remaking. . .’ India Today. https://www.indiatoday.in/movies/celebrities/story/karan-johar-feels-bollywood-lacks-conviction-to-make-original-content-we-started-remaking-2307583-2022-12-10
- Radhakrishnan, V. J. N. (2022, August 5). Data | Assam, Arunachal and Mizoram saw the biggest increases in encroachment of forest land in past two decades. The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/data/data-assam-arunachal-and-mizoram-saw-the-biggest-increases-in-encroachment-of-forest-land-in-past-two-decades/article65721795.ece
- Archit Sharma @WakeUp India May 26, 2020, 13:57 IST. (2020, May 26). Why Northeast India face racism in its own country? Times of India Blog. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/readersblog/wakeup-india/why-northeast-india-face-racism-in-its-own-country-20390/
Image credits: Mashable