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Bhoomi  : When PINK Turns Implausible
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Friday, September 22, 2017
Action
Omung Kumar
Sanjay Dutt, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharad Kelkar, Rahul Verma Rajput, Shekhar Suman

Much like Mom and Maatr which featured avenging mothers, widower Arun Sachdeva is so pushed to the wall that he takes the law into his own hands. Then, like the film Indu Sarkar, heroine Bhoomi also stammers since birth. And finally, much like Pink which championed a girl’s right to freedom of movement, the dialogues pay lip service to the modern woman. The ‘No means no’ line is recycled and thrown at a rapist.

 

However, director Omung Kumar creates a world that resembles a hackneyed 80s’ film. He first overbakes a series of father-daughter moments like oiling or colouring each other’s hair or cooking for each other and getting teary over her wedding which is just around the corner.

 

Although set in Agra, the villains gather in an area that’s like Gabbar Singh’s den on the outskirts of a village and play a crude game of hide and cheekh where a girl runs loose screaming and whoever catches her, gets her.

 

Much of it is also a repeat from earlier cinema. Like when daughter Bhoomi is gang-raped, she returns and takes a shower, the post-rape cleansing action seen in film after film.

 

To be fair, there are certain turns that are neat. Like Bhoomi telling her fiancé about the rape just before the wedding followed by a silent scene of the baraatis deserting the venue. What was also a nice line was Bhoomi questioning the fiancé who dumped her by asking him, “You’re worried about what the world will say? If I’d thought like you, I’d have never told you about the rape.”

 

But the apathetic police when the father goes to register an FIR and the court scene where the defence lawyer strips her of her dignity to establish her as characterless, are too familiar to be startling.

 

It’s commendable that Sanjay Dutt plays his age as the father of grown-up girl Aditi Rao Hydari. But it slips into the incredible when the ageing parent takes on the rapists. It’s fine as long as he does it with some cerebral planning like waiting for the juvenile rapist to turn 18. But it’s indigestible especially in the prolonged climax where the exhausted senior citizen gets the better of a young, hefty and well-maintained Sharad Kelkar who has his henchmen too with him.     

 

Omung Kumar makes clear his goal of turning this into feminist fare with women ganging up against the rapists in their families or a sea of them watching the last man being sent to his death and throwing their dupattas at him.      

 

The attempts to replicate what Pink propagated, start early in the film with shoe-shop owner Arun Sachdeva’s daily prayer which asks the Gods to bless the barren with sons. “Why not daughters?” asks his ‘Betu’ to which he has no answer. She herself supplies the answer a little later. Because daughters have to one day go away to their sasural. Ho hum, those fleeting moments of progressive thought were too good to last.          

 

Sanjay Dutt has the personality and image to carry off a revenge role. But the director needed to take special care to see that it was done commensurate with his age. Aditi Rao Hydari is pretty but not seasoned enough to elevate Bhoomi to a riveting performance. Sharad Kelkar has the physique and presence to be the chief villain.

 

With Ismail Darbar’s overloud background music, this is not a classy product.

 

For a film that tries to blend an old style of filmmaking with borrowed thoughts of progressiveness, Bhoomi gets a 2* rating. 

 

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author

 

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