Bhakshak (2024): A genuine endeavour, lacking in dramatic vigour

Dipankar Sarkar provides a insightful review on the movie Bhakshak by Pulkit

Feb 13, 2024 - 18:12
Feb 13, 2024 - 18:16
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Bhakshak (2024): A genuine endeavour, lacking in dramatic vigour
In Pulkit's Bhakshak, the audience is immediately plunged into the narrative with a visceral, gut-wrenching scene saturated in sadistic tones, culminating in the tragic murder of an innocent girl. As the film propels forward, it fearlessly unravels the layers concealing the hidden realities within a girls' shelter home, exposing the painful truths obscured behind closed doors. Initiating a challenging journey, a resilient female journalist confronts numerous obstacles to unveil the harrowing events of abuse to the world. Amid the ensuing chaos, she seizes fleeting glimpses of fragile hope. Yet, each glimmer only magnifies the gravity of the task, propelling her deeper into the heart of darkness as she persists in her unwavering pursuit of justice. 
Nestled in the fictitious town of Munnawarpur, Bihar, the film draws inspiration from the grim reality of crimes against girls revealed in a shelter in Bihar's Muzaffarpur in 2018. The story unfolds around investigative journalist Vaishali Singh (Bhumi Pednekar) from Patna. With unwavering determination, she embarks on a relentless pursuit to expose a heinous crime flourishing within a girls' shelter in the quiet confines of Munnawarpur. As the investigation progresses, she discovers how Bansi Sahu (Aditya Srivastava), the malevolent puppeteer, orchestrates the rapes and murders within the shelter. Sahu’s unscrupulous allies shamelessly align with him, creating one hurdle after another for Vaishali. However, she remains undeterred by resistance from authorities and discouragement from her family members, continuing her fight, refusing to surrender until she brings the criminals to justice. 
What stands out prominently in the film is its audacious choice to refrain from embracing the realms of melodrama and sensationalism. The portrayal of deplorable conditions within a shelter home elicits a heartfelt sense of pity, while the harrowing accounts of torture inflicted upon the girls ignite a wave of righteous anger, leaving us with a palpable sense of helplessness. The film concludes with a striking monologue delivered by the protagonist—a powerful soliloquy that echoes long after the credits roll. This contributes to making the film a compelling vehicle for awakening collective consciousness, urging the audience to confront uncomfortable truths that often lurk beneath the surface in the quieter corners of our society. 
Bhumi Pednekar, portraying Vaishali, once again showcases her formidable set of skills. Her unwavering screen presence demonstrates a remarkable ability to infuse hope even into the role of a common individual. Aditya Srivastava, in the role of Bansi, adopts a villainous demeanor with his body language and demonic eyes portraying him as a menacing predator. Sanjay Mishra, playing Bhaskar Sinha, Vaishali’s cameraman, charms us with his quirky dialogue delivery and constant support to the protagonist, enhancing the overall dynamic of the film.  Kumar Sourabh's cinematography skillfully navigates us through the hellish universe of the film, expertly constructing an intense atmosphere of discomfort. His framing adeptly captures a bleak sense of darkness and sadness, along with the radiance of aspiration. This skillfully translates these emotions into visual elements that resonate throughout the narrative.  The editing by Zubin Sheikh allows the film to linger on crucial moments, accelerates the pace when necessary, and deftly shifts perspectives to craft a sinister tale of exploitation and courage. Shishir Chousalkar's sound design evokes an eerie atmosphere, setting the mood and enhancing the sense of bleakness. 
There is no doubt that Pulkit possesses prowess and stylistic finesse in his directorial abilities. He meticulously controlled each moment in the film with astuteness, leaving no detail unattended and resonating with subtle sophistication. However, a void exists—a yearning for the lack of dramatic thrust in the screenplay that could transform a hard-hitting news story into a truly immersive piece of cinema. Though commendable, it craves that transformative touch capable of transcending the boundaries between mere storytelling and an engrossing cinematic experience. 
Bhakshak is currently streaming on Netflix. 

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