Our green cover is our lungs in effect. By making holes in it in the name of progress, we are slowly killing ourselves. The North East is where this cover is the thickest. It’s a place where large tracts of virgin forests still lie undisturbed. But here too, unplanned development is taking place in the name of progress. This is one of the concerns of this multi-layered film which combines folklore and common sense to make a case for the conservation of the environment. It also talks about the alienation of the North East. It points out that people from the rest of India are by and large remain ignorant of the region, and practise racial prejudice against its citizens just because they have mongoloid features and can’t speak Hindi fluently. It is time to make greater efforts to assimilate them into the folds of mainstream India, before they are totally cut off. There is legend of Yapum deity in the North East, especially in the Arunachal Pradesh, who is said to be the protector of the forests. That’s the folktale Amar Kaushik has touched upon. When man crosses his limits over encroachment of the forest land, nature takes matter in its own hands and sends forth a vigilante who isn’t afraid of murder if need be, to right the wrongs.
Bhaskar (Varun Dhawan), is an unscrupulous small-time contractor based out of Delhi who gets the biggest contract of his life – that of constructing a road inside the dense forests of Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh. He knows that the project will play havoc with the environment and will upset nature’s balance. Also, it won’t be much beneficial to the regional populace as well. And yet he uses every means at his disposal to clinch the deal and grab the land of the tribals. He’s helped in this endeavour by his cousin Janardan (Abhishek Banerjee), friend Jomin (Paalin Kabak) and subcontractor Panda (Deepak Dobriyal). He’s bitten by a bhediya (wolf) while stranded in the jungle and is provided first aid by veterinary doctor Anika (Kriti Sanon). Unfortunately for him, he was bitten by a supernatural wolf, and starts turning into one himself. Even as Bhaskar is struggling to control his new-found superpowers, people associated with the controversial project start getting killed one after the other due to animal attacks, leading him to think it’s he who is doing the murders while in the wolf form.
But this isn’t just a gory werewolf vigilante movie. In fact, the horror elements are down to a minimum. What it has is a barrelful of gags, both verbal and physical, which will make you laugh for sure. The film takes potshots at everything. There are references galore to everyone from Himesh Reshamiyya, Shehnaz Gill, Mithun Chakraborty, to Gulzar’s Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai song, which he had written for the Jungle Book serial. The dialogue, written by Niren Bhatt, is the real hero of the film. Wisecracks follow each other in quick succession from the first frame to the last and leave you smiling.
Abhishek Banerjee is given the best lines in the film, which he delivers with deadpan humour. His is clearly the standout performance in the film. Varun Dhawan has done films like Badlapur and October in the past, where the story and not him, took the paramount importance. He’s assimilated himself well into the project, which traces his growth from a selfish businessman to a concerned environmentalist. He knows the focus would be on creature effects and has given himself wholeheartedly to the role, acting very much like a man caught in unusual circumstances which aren’t to his liking. His redemption takes time, leaving room for much comedy. Things turn serious only towards the end, where the director literally goes for the jugular. Deepak Dobriyal, and North Eastern actor Paalin Kabak offer able support as well. Kriti Sanon has an important and mysterious role too, though there’s less of her in the film then we’d hoped for.
The film’s creature effects and computer generated imagery is excellent. Cinematography and the background score are good as well. The film is a tad long and could have been better at a crisp 140 minutes. It does keep you in the laughs throughout and has an important message to convey. If nothing else, it’ll make you want to explore the pristine beauty of the North East for sure…Quick take: Bhediya is a mix of creature horror and comedy Continue reading …Read More