What works better? A rape and revenge drama executed in today’s ‘slickly realistic’ way (“Kaabil,” “Maatr,” and “Mom”) or in the old-fashioned tell-all, show-all way with loud revenge? Does the voltage of revenge differ because the girl is also in the vendetta fray? Above all, are we seeing the wrongdoers getting sentenced by a court (as in “Pink”) or completely decimated in the best tradition of the ‘70s potboilers?
Omung Kumar, who made the sensitive success, “Mary Kom,” and the tolerable but tepid, “Sarbjit,” glorifying strong women, gets into a reverse gear. This time, he plans the film unabashedly for the single-screens and Baba (Sanjay Dutt) fans, showing tormented women and strong men for the most part of the film.
Mainstream elements like emotional sequences (a slew of wasted shoes tailored by shoemaker Dutt — who plays a doting dad Arun — for all her in-laws when his daughter (Aditi Roy Hydari as Bhoomi)’s wedding is broken and their party leaves), high-pitched rhetoric in court, ‘comedy’ generated by a ‘drinking’ buddy, a regressive doctor fiancé, an item number with the siren dipped in mud and of course, the violent retribution all make “Bhoomi” a package that is meant to titillate even as pretentiously claims to be about women empowerment.
For the millionth time, offbeat or even realistic filmmakers need to stay away from the masala film as it is far above their IQ level to make a good mainstream drama of any genre.
Perhaps the most objectionable part of the film is that the movie is not satisfied with the sordid rape sequence. What “Bhoomi” suffers later is perhaps worse, akin to what we saw in the 1980 B.R. Chopra classic, “Insaf Ka Tarazu,” the harrowing court scenes where her character is assassinated. In other words, director Kumar goes the whole hog in exploiting the very thing he pretends to condemn — the attack on a woman’s dignity, to create a wannabe mainstream film full of the ‘70s and ‘80s clichés. We saw that last in “NH 10,” remember? Though that was about avenging the hero, not a rape film.
The dialogues follow the standard of the film, very occasionally decent, mostly puerile and often tasteless, silly or both. Kumar scores only in a few sequences, too, few, like the novel narration by Dutt about the punishment for rape in several countries. But we cannot pardon Kumar and the writers for the way they intersperse Hydari lying raped in mud with an item song exploiting the mud-soaked voluptuous form of Sunny Leone in a nonsensical gimmicky number called “Trippy Trippy.”
Sanjay Dutt does well in most of the film, his baleful eyes speaking volumes on many occasions. However, we wish that after 36 years in this line, he had brought some varied nuances in his dialogue delivery to enhance his mature role as a father. Aditi Rao Hydari is good, but she is clearly handicapped by the pedestrian material. The rest of the cast is adequate, but for Sharad Kelkar scoring high as a villain, and Shekhar Suman being awful as Dutt’s travel guide buddy.
The songs and technical side are alright, but we must mention the acoustic background score by Ismail Darbar.
Rating: ** (This is getting boring, all films this week have this same rating!)
T-Series Films and Legend Films present “Bhoomi”
Produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Omung Kumar, Manish Singh & Sandeep Singh
Directed by: Omung Kumar
Written by: Brij Shandilya & Sandeep Singh
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Aditi Roy Hydari, Sharad Kelkar, Puru Chibber, Hanif Hilal, Sakshi Dwivedi, Riddhi Sen, Shekhar Suman, Sidhanth Gupta, Veer Aryan. Sp. app.: Sunny Leone and others