MUMBAI: After almost three years, Bollywood biggie Sanjay Dutt is back to take the silver screen by storm. Yes, his comeback film ‘Bhoomi’ has arrived in the theatres already and his fans are happy to the core. But, after a long gap, are Baba’s acting skills still intact to deliver a breakthrough performance once again? Well, let’s find out.
Filmmaker Omung Kumar’s revenge-drama revolves around a father-daughter duo – Arun (Sanjay) and Bhoomi (Aditi Rao Hydari) – who live happily in Agra. Things go out of control when Bhoomi gets gang-raped just a day before her wedding.
The first half of ‘Bhoomi’, brings forward all the sweet and lovable ingredients of the relationship between a father and his daughter. Based in Agra, the story carries the fragrance of the ‘city of love’ and its culture. Not soon enough, Sharad Kelkar as Dhauli, the baddie, strikes in and the script takes an intense turn.
Amalgamated with powerful dialogues and intense scenes, including a courtroom trial, the film successfully manages to take the curiosity level of the audience up a notch. However, one of the few things that I found a bit weak in the movie is its screenplay. The flick keeps on losing the pace in its second half. Some might say that Sanjay took a bit too long to settle the scores. At the same time, it needs to be considered that the build-up was kinda necessary to lead to a worthy climax and the director was passively raising the momentum through it.
Bhoomi movie tweet review
If we talk about the performances, Sanjay has completely killed it with his fierce and aggressive performance. At times, his dialogue delivery was magnificent enough to give his fans goosebumps. Undoubtedly, ‘Bhoomi’ is Aditi’s career best role. Her portrayal of a raped woman who also stammers can officially be marked as her entry into the list of remarkable actresses. Sharad was quite convincing as the villain. His macho voice will give you ‘Baahubali’ feels.
It probably makes sense for Sanjay Dutt to play a slurring drunkard in Bhoomi. It makes it okay for the returning hero to look like he has forgotten his lines. More grizzled than ever, Dutt lurches through Bhoomi speaking all his dialogues – from the prayers in an aarti to a declaration of bloody vengeance – in the same dopey monotone. At one point his daughter comes and stands next to him at a store, and he sees her, looks away, turns back and, like an afterthought, mutters “Arre, Bhoomi tu?
Bhoomi, this daughter, is played by Aditi Rao Hydari with a dispirited despondence befitting an actress in an Omung Kumar film who remembers that her last film was with Mani Ratnam. Her character has a stutter, which, in a film this far from subtle, means she has to work pauses into every single sentence, making her look like a pretty Atal Behari Vajpayee. She stutters even as she sobs, and this she does a lot, since she is barbarically raped by a trio of dastardly villains, led by a moustached ruffian who cannot stop punning.
It is hard to describe how ghastly this film is, a relentless story of rape and revenge that treats its characters as cruelly as it does the audience. There are, mercifully, two words that should efficiently express its mediocrity, and those words are Shekhar Suman.
The nineties – when Dutt was lanky and charming, while Suman was the perky Dekh Bhai Dekh uncle we dug – were a terribly long time ago. Here Suman plays Dutt’s drinking buddy, and he slurs his lines like Keshto Mukherjee trying to ape Keshto Mukherjee. This, however, is not as hideous as later in the film, when he doesn’t have drunken gags to hide behind. Sober Suman is the worst.
Bhoomi is not just a bad film, it is a bad film trying to be many good films. As the background score gets shriller, the film takes turns trying to be NH10 and Ghayal and Pink. And while it is laudable for a action movie to have a message – this film is apparently talking about rape, character and consent – it must first be a watchable film. This is not.
A girl is raped and she, along with her father, takes revenge. That is the film in a line, but Kumar takes forever getting to it. The film opens with a shot of the girl’s prized juttis falling from a moving vehicle during a scuffle, before it cuts to a generic shaadi song.
We are given a few scenes of poorly written merriment before the brutal assault takes place, after which the filmmaker makes way for unbearable melodrama. Because Dutt is a shoemaker, a crafter of juttis in Agra, we see too many Cinderella shots as he slips shoes onto his in-laws to be. Then, as the wedding is called off, we see as many shots of shoes being discarded till finally we have a crying bride and a father left all alone in a sea of upturned shoes. Oh, the disgrace. (And the wasted leather.)
Dutt is not the problem. There is one moment – as he looks at a policeman checking a well to see if Bhoomi’s killed herself – where his eyes express absolute fear, but the rest of the time he looks like he couldn’t be bothered to actually try and act in this self-mocking film. I cannot blame him, for it is a film that makes him eat the lice he picks out of his daughter’s head. We should all have known better. The trailer for Bhoomi contained the words “From the maker of Mary Kom and Sarbjit.” What could be a scarier warning?