It’s been almost three years since the spread of coronavirus and the first nationwide lockdown. A significant amount of time has passed but there are a lot of people out there for whom things have changed forever, there are families who have not been able to recover from the wounds inflicted by the covid waves and probably, will never be able to. Made about the same realm, director Anubhav Sinha’s “Bheed” brings together different stories of the people struggling with the exodus during the covid pandemic.
The story begins with a heart-wrenching incident in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, in which 16 labourers who had passed out on the railway tracks due to exhaustion from trying to make the journey back home on foot, were run over by a train. After this, as the story progresses, the memories related to the Corona period start resurfacing in your mind as well. There is a section of poor and helpless labourers who want to go back to their village and be among their people in this calamity. There is a police force department, which is caught between the system and the stubbornness of these worried migrant workers. Apart from this, there is a reporter and her team, who are determined to show the truth to the world. What is common among all these classes of people is the fear of an unseen-unheard disease and helplessness in front of the system.
One of the worst hit sections of the lockdown was the migrant labourers, who leave their homes and settle in other states in search of employment and livelihood. The lockdown had them unemployed and homeless in a single day. Keeping these migrants at the center, Anubhav Sinha has created the story of the crowd. He has also brought up one of the most prominent issues of our society that still plagues our minds, i.e. the caste discrimination. The scene hits you hard when Rajkummar Rao wants to extend a helping hand to the people as duty incharge but casteism obstructs his hand. However, with the characters battling societal, cultural and financial inequalities, but all vowing to reach home in the end, the story comes to give priority to humanity. The screenplay written by Anubhav Sinha, Saumya Tiwari and Sonali Jain portrays the atmosphere and mood of the characters very well.
Looking at the strong cast, one can easily say that Anubhav Sinha has already won half the battle. Experience of seasoned actors like Pankaj Kapur, Virendra Saxena, Ashutosh Rana and the lustre of stars like Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Kritika Kamra blend into the film well. Rajkummar Rao’s work is commendable, as he plays a dalit man who becomes an officer and but still hesitates to give orders. Kritika Kamra surprises as a reporter. Even among veterans and leads, she makes her presence felt. Bhumi Pednekar plays a doctor who makes every effort to help people. Pankaj Kapur literally makes you forget that he is Pankaj Kapur because he is that engrossed in his character and I think that’s what all actors strive for. Dia Mirza’s character could have been developed a bit more. Ashutosh Rana plays a police inspector whose bitterness is raw and honest. When his parents are not given beds in a hospital, is an incredibly impactful scene. All in all, a very balanced cast.
Well, in times like today where directors love experimenting with color palettes, Anubhav Sinha has gone with monochromatic black and white and for obvious reasons. With this black and white shade, he wants to give a message — what could possibly happen if you lose colors in your life and it won’t be wrong to say that he once again succeeds in showing the mirror to the society. He has very well put up the displeasure, helplessness, regret and every other emotion that people might harbour towards the system in the threads of the story and the best part is that he has not tried to exaggerate any incident for pumping people up.
Be it the stories of workers coming out of cement churning machines, the train passing over a group of workers laying on the tracks, the children crying out in hunger, a girl taking her father home on a bicycle or the blisters on the feet of migrant workers, every story reminds you of some or the other news from the covid era and leaves you with goosebumps. Each frame has a special message in itself.
The film leaves a deep impression on your heart and mind and makes you more aware of the painful reality of that horrific period. It does make you anxious, uncomfortable, moist-eyed and still brings a smile towards the end.
“Bheed” is now showing in theaters near you. It surely deserves your attention!