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Bheed movie review: A commendable narration of the plight of migrant workers during lockdown

Modified On: 25 March 2023 | Reviewed By:

Storyline: Anubhav Sinha’s social drama highlights the plight of migrant workers during the nationwide Covid-19 virus-induced lockdown and their painful and heartbreaking journey to make their way back home.

Bheed (2022)

Director: Anubhav Sinha | Music Director: Mangesh Dhakde

Bheed (2022) Movie Poster

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Review: Anubhav Sinha's 'Bheed' is a compelling drama that comes close to relaying the truth of severe hardships migrant workers faced at that time of crisis—with bare minimum access to food, shelter, little or no money, sealed borders, and lack of overall infrastructure to support them. The film also addresses the caste discrimination that some of them faced during those challenging times.

The opening scene, which tells the story of “16 migrant workers run over by a train”, sets the tone for the intense and poignant story that follows. By now, we all are fairly aware of the traumatic incidents that occurred during the course of the pandemic, and even the thought of it can still shake you up. So, watching this story unfold and revisiting some of these incidents cinematically, could have a similar effect on you. The screenplay by Anubhav Sinha, Saumya Tiwari, and Sonali Jain refrains from sensationalising any aspect of the story and allows ‘Bheed’ to remain closer to reality.

Interestingly, what makes this social drama stand out is the way it is shot in black and white. Soumik Mukherjee's stark and striking cinematography heightens the impact of the film. As the camera pans on the characters (migrant workers), exposing their bleeding wounds and starving bodies, it will make you shudder.

Balram Trivedi (Pankaj Kapur) is a watchman who wishes to return to his hometown with many of his friends and fellow workers. Thousands more, like them, arrive at the Tejpur border, which is 1200 km from Delhi. However, the borders are sealed, and the officer in charge, Surya Kumar Singh (Rajkummar Rao), refuses to let anyone pass through. As a result, Madam Ji (Dia Mirza), who comes from a wealthy family, is also trapped with them. Meanwhile, medical student Renu Sharma (Bhumi Pednekar) organises a camp near the border to provide basic medical aid to Covid patients. The magnitude of each person's problems varies but they are all trapped in this tragic situation with little recourse, and only faith to hold on to.

Pankaj Kapur is fantastic as the rampaging Balram Trivedi. Rajkummar Rao once again pulls off a sincere and brilliant performance as an officer on-duty trying to combat caste prejudice, while battling his inner conflict which stems from his roots. Bhumi Pednekar plays his paramour Renu, who belongs to a different caste, but that does not stop them from falling in love. Dia Mirza stands out with her compelling performance. She plays a distraught mother who is unable to meet her daughter, and also someone who comes from a place of privilege and believes that people like her (upper crust of society) will be the ones more affected in the pandemic. The rest (poor section of society), she believes inki immunity acchi hain. Kritika Kamra as the empathetic journalist Vidhi Prabhakar, pours her heart into the story she is covering and becomes the strong voice of the people. Ashutosh Rana as a senior police officer is fairly underutilised.

Anubhav Sinha is known for his hard-hitting cinema (Mulk, Article 15), and this time again, he leaves you with strong images and stories of miseries, despair and desperation of migrant workers during the nationwide Covid-19 virus-induced lockdown. ‘Bheed’ isn’t an easy watch, but the harsh reality never is easy thing to perceive.

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