Being Women

Bhakshak – A Gripping Reality: Brave, Raw, and Hard-Hitting

Directed byPulkit
Written byJyotsana Nath
Produced byGauri Khan Gaurav Verma
StarringBhumi Pednekar
Sanjay Mishra
Aditya Srivastava
Sai Tamhankar
Edited byZubin Sheikh
Music bySongs: Anurag Saikia Anuj Garg
Background Score: Clinton Cerejo Bianca Gomes
Red Chillies Entertainment
Distributed byNetflix
Release date9 February 2024
Running time135 minutes[1]

A must-watch

Based on a true story

To begin with, Bhakshak is loosely based on a true incident that happened in Bihar, about six years ago, wherein underage girls from an orphanage were sexually exploited to entertain powerful bigshots, businessmen, and even police chiefs. The orphanage belonged to a top newspaper owner, rich and influential. So the crime never came to light for long, and the investigation took forever.

And that’s why I call Bhakshak raw and hard-hitting. It’s one of those movies that gradually grows on you, and stays.

Gripping and disturbing

Bhakshak is brave, and surely not an easy watch. Some scenes are haunting, the very first deals with chilli powder being shoved into a girl’s genitals. Let me tell you here, that there are not many disturbing graphics involved, it’s the conversations. They are so impactful, that sometimes you feel ashamed to exist in a society where orphaned girls are treated with such cruelty. All in the garb of a protective shelter, with rich and important people partaking. As the girls are orphans, there’s absolutely no report filed when they mysteriously disappear.

So when a lesser-known reporter of a ram-shackled TV channel acquires information about the crime, she pursues it endlessly. She tries to uncover the crime, but she’s stalked and threatened, her family is attacked, but she, of course, doesn’t give up.

Her effort takes a long time, because the perpetrators are powerful, who can pull strings and not let an investigation happen. Despite the support received from a female officer, the journey to saving the young girls is marred by hurdles.

The focus

Why Bhakshak is difficult to digest, is because it comes straight to the point. The movie goes sans romantic numbers or any fluff, it remains focused on the spine-chilling episode of brutal rape and at times, murders and disappearances of girls who have nobody to rescue them.

Themes explored

Not only child molestation, Bhakshak also touches upon latent patriarchy, the unending pressure on women to have a child, inherent corruption within police and top offices, and most importantly, the biased media giants. When the 4th pillar of democracy is up for sale, whom does the common man depend upon?

A compelling protagonist

Bhumi Pednekar’s compelling performance drives the narrative. She is brilliant and believable. Sanjay Mishra is wasted in a repetitive role, we have seen him perform far better. Sai Tamhankar has a short role, but she impresses.

Challenges and flaws

Slow-paced and monotonous, lacking the necessary thrills for some viewers.

But there are certain points where Bhakshak falters. As I mentioned, it is pretty monotonous. And slow-paced. Though it does gather some speed towards the end, the climax looks rather rushed. A bit too dark, it might not be an ideal cup of tea for many.

Rushed climax fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion.

Also, the subject is very significant, but not entirely novel. We have watched similar themes in the past, Rani Mukherji’s Mardani for example. I guess it’s the treatment that makes it a little drag. As Bhakshak follows a particular incident to the T, it somehow fails to pack a punch. The last few scenes do look a bit preachy, the makers could have done away with the speeches.

Lacks originality, drawing similarities to films like “Mardani.”

But the villains fail to create an impact. The usually bankable Aditya Shrivastav is stuck in a role that doesn’t offer him much variety. There are other weird-looking goons too, who mouth the same heavy dialogues in a loop.

Predictable plot and stereotypical villains diminish the impact.

All said and done, Bhakshak is a one-time watch. I wouldn’t call it a classic, it’s a mixed bag rather. It is realistic to the core, and a brave effort indeed. But some might find it a little too rough for their liking.

A thought-provoking film, but not for the faint of heart due to its dark themes and violence. Watch it for Bhumi Pednekar’s performance and the film’s unflinching portrayal of a harsh reality.


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