Updated February 13th, 2024 at 17:42 IST

Bhakshak Review: Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra Are Earnest In Hard-hitting Drama

With neatly designed characters and a hard-hitting storyline, Bhakshak is a must-watch true crime film. The intent of the makers is commendable.

Reported by: Devasheesh Pandey
Bhakshak | Image:IMDb
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Bhumi Pednekar, who plays the role of a journalist in Bhakshak, sharply critiques the desensitised society in her final monologue. "The internet generation lacks sympathy," she asserts in a poignant manner after rescuing underage girls from a sex racket. The movie, much like Bhumi's evocative monologue, hits home with its message. But it does falter in going beyond the obvious.

A still from Bhakshak | Image: Bhumi Pednekar/Instagram

Hot Take

Bhakshak deals with crime against women and explores the journey of a woman's quest to seek justice while highlighting how the society has turned a blind eye to the evils that surround us. Every scene in the film serves as a grim reminder of rampant abuse and neglected state of vulnerable orphans, especially women who face exploitation at the hands of those in power.

A still from Bhakshak | Image: YouTube screengrab

Bhakshak is based on true events and director Pulkit has approached it in an almost documentary style with emphasis to highlight the plight of the victims in a sensitive manner rather than focus on production design, costumes et al.

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Does Bhakshak live up to the hype?

Vaishali Singh (Bhumi Pednekar) runs an independent news channel in Patna with Bhaskar (Sanjay Mishra). Struggling to find her footing, she lands on information of women being abused at a shelter home. Vaishali and Bhaskar take it upon themselves to get to the bottom of the story, but they are up against dangerous people.

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Uncovering the truth is Vaishali's only chance to revive her career. But her decision to crusade against those operating within the corridors of power is not one she takes to give a boost to her career but solely to get justice for the women who have been wronged.

Bhumi sinks her teeth into the character

Both outside and at home, Vaishali is up in arms against oppressors. In her attempt to unravel the story buried within the walls of the Munnawarpur Shelter Home, Vaishali is seeking her own redemption. And she won't quit.

Bhumi's portrayal of a small-town woman with a never say die attitude is noteworthy. She embodies the spirit of the young girls she aims to rescue. Her Bihari accent, though not entirely on point, does land right for most part of the film.

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Sanjay Mishra adds humour in this grim tale

Sanjay Mishra, as cameraman Bhaskar, sticks to juggling between humour and sincerity. In portions where the film starts getting emotionally draining, his one-liners provide a breather. Vaishali and Bhaskar's camaraderie during sleuthing becomes the highlight of the movie. The duo complements each other and help the film pull through in scenes that appear dragged.

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A still from Bhakshak | Image: YouTube screengrab

Aditya Srivastava is formidable as villain

Aditya Srivastava as Bansi Sahu, the perpetrator, is menacing. His character, however, could have done with less dialogues and more silences.

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A still from Bhakshak | Image: YouTube screengrab

Not much novelty in treatment

The visuals of Bhakshak will remind one of Shefali Shah starrer Delhi Crime. The claustrophobic lanes intercut with drone shots of city highlight the stark contrast between the different rungs of the society. While it works for the movie, it is not a departure from what we have seen before.

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Stream it or skip it?

Bhakshak forces us to look within. It is hard-hitting and seldom gets preachy. When the visuals cannot justify the female perspective, Pulkit sticks to using wide shots. Its smart filmmaking at display. It has pacing issues but since movie focusses equally on the investigation part, it does not become a tedious watch.

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Bottomline

With neatly designed characters and a hard-hitting storyline, Bhakshak is a must-watch true crime film. The intent of the makers in backing a project that requires urgent attention is commendable.

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Rating: 3/5 stars

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Published February 13th, 2024 at 17:42 IST