Bhumi Pednekar sinks her teeth into the hard-hitting Netflix drama “Bhakshak”, delivering a blistering performance as a journalist exposing endemic abuse. Directed by Pulkit, this harrowing tale pulls no punches in confronting the horrors hidden behind closed doors.
Like a persistent terrier, Bhumi Pednekar refuses to let go as Vaishali Singh, the ambitious journalist at the heart of “Bhakshak”. When a late-night tip-off lands on her desk about abuse allegations at a girls’ shelter home, Vaishali’s reporter instincts kick into gear despite the lateness of the hour. As she delves deeper into the case, she inches towards a shocking truth that powerful figures would prefer remained buried.
Inspired By True Events
While not confirmed by the creators, all signs point to “Bhakshak” using the infamous Muzaffarpur case as its jumping-off point. With over 40 young girls abused at a state-funded shelter, it shone an unforgiving light into the dark recesses of corruption in the system. This gut-wrenching real-life scandal provides fertile ground for Pulkit’s hard-hitting script to bloom.
Facts and Figures Table
|February 9, 2024
|Pulkit, Jyotsana Nath
|Red Chillies Entertainment
|Real-life shelter home abuse cases
Bhumi Bites Into Meaty Role
As the ambitious but principled Vaishali, Bhumi Pednekar sinks her teeth into a meaty, multilayered lead role. With diction lessons paying dividends, she ably embodies a small-town journalist, perfectly nailing the distinctive Bihari lilt. Squaring off against the sinister shelter owner Bansi Sahu (Aditya Srivastava), Bhumi simmers with a relentless determination. Her courageous crusade for justice powers the narrative forward with an electrifying jolt.
Sanjay Mishra Shines
Bhumi receives sterling support from Sanjay Mishra as her veteran colleague. Effortlessly slipping into the skin of a seasoned Patna reporter, he rattles off lengthy dialogues with practiced ease. When paired together, their odd couple chemistry clicks, punctuated by laugh-out-loud hilarious moments. Meanwhile, Aditya Srivastava oozes malevolence as the corrupt Bansi, his looming presence thickening the tension.
Sensitive Subject Handled With Care
With child abuse as its central theme, “Bhakshak” navigates tricky terrain. While refusing to dilute the grim realities, Pulkit directs with nuance and sensitivity. The abuses occur off-screen, with the emphasis fixed firmly on exposing the systemic rot that enabled them. As Vaishali inches closer to the dark heart of the scandal, the claustrophobic sense of danger ratchets up. Pulkit cranks up the suspense, accompanied by a pulsing background score, as the net tightens on the perpetrators.
The main quibble around “Bhakshak” centers on its elongated 144-minute runtime. The pace slackens in the mid-section, causing attention to drift momentarily. Tightening up the editing could have allowed Pulkit to retain the unbearable tension triggered by the abrasive subject matter. However, the saggy bits hardly detract from an otherwise captivating thriller.
For fans of gritty, issues-driven cinema, “Bhakshak” delivers a sucker punch to the gut. Bhumi Pednekar dominates the screen with a bravura turn as a daring journalist, while Sanjay Mishra provides amusing comic relief. A flawed but powerful piece, it makes for compelling if uncomfortable viewing. While respectfully handled, viewer discretion is still advised for sensitive themes.
“Bhakshak” marks another hard-hitting drama in Bhumi Pednekar’s filmography. She continues to display tremendous range, adeptly pivoting from bubbly romantic lead to intense crusading journalist. Backed by Shah Rukh Khan’s production heft, this Netflix original ensures a global spotlight shines on the vital issues it raises. Uncompromising and bold, “Bhakshak” showcases Indian cinema’s ability to fold real-life horrors into thoughtful, provocative narratives.