Bhediya (2022/ Horror Comedy/ Cinema Release)
Director – Amar Kaushik
Writer – Niren Bhatt
Cast – Varun Dhawan, Abhishek Banerjee, Paalin Kabak, Deepak Dobriyal, Kriti Sanon, Saurabh Shukla
An ambitious, city bred Bhaskar intends to build a road through a thick forested area of the lush northeast. He has neither respect nor love for nature or its relationship with humans & ends up in a precarious situation.
Films these days have a long list of challenges to meet. They need to be able win the audience’s hearts and/or make them think, offer something new, entertain unapologetically or have substance or a message.
Not an easy feat and I would say Bhediya succeeds reasonably.
First of all it deserves a pat on the back for attempting a tough-to-handle genre, blending in thought-provoking & hard hitting messages, providing a dose of humour, managing to tug emotionally, along with serving an amazing visual treat.
An element that deserves the first mention is the cinematography by Jishnu Bhattacharjee.
Fantastic visuals and superb VFX are the highlights of the film.
The transformation was absolutely A-class and the animals looked as realistic as it can be.
The north east has been captured in all its beauty and the scenes with VFX thrown in reminded me of Pandora in Avatar.
The horror element is not too high, except for the setting and atmospherics. North East and the forested areas do lend a mystique.
The way they have blended humour with metaphors, veiled messages, sarcasm and folklores is appreciable. Works much better than a preachy approach.
They highlight the fast life-commercial-city-psyche and make it look ugly.
They begin with making us fear the wolf and by the end they make us fear ‘for’ that very wolf.
The empathy that they manage to evoke and the emotional connect that the film makes in the third act is a clear winner. The message of harmony that the humans need to have with nature, is well delivered.
Having said that, I confess that the I felt my attention going astray sporadically. Perhaps some stretches could have been crisper or sharper. The premise is interesting but not very intriguing. Humour is cute but not hilarious. Although I enjoyed the film, but felt a lack of intensity.
I know comparisons are wrong but I would still go ahead and point out that neither the horror nor the comedy, or the mystery is at par with Stree. But this film wins hearts for so many reasons as mentioned earlier.
Varun Dhawan is superb in all shades of his role.
Abhishek is the life line of the humour quotient of the film. He steals every scene he is in, even if he is not the focus.
Paalin makes a good debut.
Deepak Dobrial is good but not great.
Kriti has too small a presence to speak about.
The film is definitely recommended. You might like it or love it depending upon your palate. But no denying that it entertains and accomplishes a lot.
Score 3.5 on 5