‘BHEDIYA’ REVIEW | 25 November, 2022

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Jio Studios and Maddock Films’ Bhediya (UA) is a creature comedy film. Bhaskar works for an infrastructure development company. Assigned by his boss with the job of making a road which has to pass through the thick jungles of Arunachal Pradesh, Bhaskar reaches the state with cousin Janardhan (Abhishek Banerjee). They seek help from two young men — Panda (Deepak Dobriyal) and Jomin (Paalin Kabaak) — but it is not easy for Bhaskar to convince the locals, some of who are concerned about the ecosystem being disturbed because of the cutting of trees. Soon after work on the clearance of trees begins, Bhaskar is bitten on his buttock by a wolf. Strange things start happening to him after the ferocious bite even as he is under Dr. Anika’s (Kriti Sanon) treatment.

Does Bhaskar get completely cured? What about the strange happenings? Does Bhaskar accomplish his mission of road construction?

Niren Bhatt has attempted to write a very different story which makes the film quite unusual but also that much more risky as acceptability of the subject may not be universal. However, Bhatt very cleverly laces the main drama with so much comedy that his screenplay becomes both, interesting and entertaining. No doubt, the screenplay looks a bit stretched at places but it continues to hold the audience’s interest throughout because of the many turns and twists. Besides plenty of light moments, there are tension-ridden as well as thrilling moments too. There is a twist in the climax, which shocks the viewers. After that twist, the climax becomes emotional and touches the hearts of the viewers. A good point about the screenplay is that it weaves in a message or two so effortlessly into the narrative that it doesn’t look preachy. The absence of a strong villain with a known face is sorely felt, especially in the climax because the audience wonders whom the hero is fighting after all. Niren Bhatt’s dialogues are weighty in the serious part of the drama, and very funny in the light scenes.

Varun Dhawan does a wonderful job in the film which gives a lot of scope to several other actors too. As Bhaskar, he is very convincing. His predicament comes through very effectively. Kriti Sanon performs ably in the role of Dr. Anika. She looks pretty too. Abhishek Banerjee is phenomenal as Janardhan. He has many entertaining and comic dialogues and scenes, and he does a fantastic job to keep the audience in splits. Deepak Dobriyal gets into the skin of Panda’s character and comes out trumps. He performs so beautifully that it’s a delight to watch him. Paalin Kabaak is very endearing and also a fine actor. In the role of Jomin, he makes a fine mark. Madang Pai makes his presence felt as Ojha. Dosam Beyong has his moments as Prakash. Saurabh Shukla is lovely as Bhaskar’s boss, Bagga. Sharad Kelkar makes his presence felt in a tiny role as the hunter. Baby Dhruhi Anand is cute. Manoj Bakshi is natural as Bhaskar’s father.

Amar Kaushik’s direction is lovely. His narrative style in the rather difficult subject underlines his understanding of the craft and the medium. Sachin-Jigar’s music is hit. ‘Apna bana le’ is a surest hit song, thanks in no small measure to Arijit Singh’s rendition besides the melody and the lyrics, of course. ‘Jungle mein kaand’ and ‘Thumkeshwari’ are mass-appealing numbers. Other songs are quite nice. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are inspired. Song picturisations (by Ganesh Acharya, Vijay Ganguly and Piyush-Shazia) are fairly appealing, the best being the picturisation of the ‘Appa bana le’ song. Sachin-Jigar’s background music is very impactful. Vishnu Bhattacharjee’s cinematography is fantastic. Visual effects and computer graphics are extraordinary. Darrell McLean and Riyaz Habib’s action and stunt scenes are thrilling and exciting. The 3D effects add to the thrill. Production designing (Mayur Sharma and Apurwa Sondhi) and art direction (Sabyasachi Misra and Sugam Mehta) are of a high standard. Sanyukta Kaza’s editing is super-sharp.

On the whole, Bhediya is an enjoyable entertainer which also gives two messages (one of which is lovely) to the public. Having said that, it must be added that it will not realise its full potential because of the craze of last week’s super-hit, Drishyam 2.

Released on 25-11-’22 at Inox (daily 10 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru PEN Marudhar Cine Entertainment. Publicity: very good. Opening: below the mark. …….Also released all over. Opening was dull at many places.