Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Adita Rao Hydari, Shekhar Suman, Sharad Kelkar
Direction: Omung Kumar
Omung Kumar’s ‘Bhoomi’ is, to say the least, a disturbing film. The discomfort doesn’t stem just from the dark motifs of rape and revenge, but also from the director’s treatment of these sensitive issues.
Sexual assault and violence are brutal acts of abuse. They are unsettling not only for those who have been at their receiving end, but for all rational individuals. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who may derive a perverse pleasure in subjugating a weaker person, no matter the gender.
The repeated sensationalisation of such vicious crimes by the filmmaker indicates a blatant disregard for the sensitivity that handling such a subject should automatically entail. Instead, what you get is a voyeuristic rape scene and a gratuitous item number that make the film’s take on this serious issue shamefully crude.
I felt like I was watching one of those B-grade movies from the 1970s that adhered to every prevalent Bollywood formula, the main aim being to titillate.
Recent films like ‘MOM’ and ‘PINK’, specifically the later did such a fine job of addressing their concerns without so much as obliquely alluding to the actual incident.
There is a courtroom scene – quite obviously inspired by Amitabh Bachchan’s memorable turn in ‘PINK’ – where there is a pointless discussion over the victim’s character. Here, however, Sanjay Dutt reiterating that his daughter is ‘characterless’ just doesn’t have the same impact. It sounds hollow and contrived.
Even the aspersions the defense lawyer casts on the client are unnecessary because just a minute earlier she seems to have already provided ample ‘proof’ that the rape didn’t happen at all. So why go ahead and malign her?
Even if we were to set aside the insensitivity at display, the narrative lacks coherence and logic.
The Police show up the moment a fistfight breaks out between Dutt and the villain (Sharad Kelkar) but there isn’t a cop in sight when a person is killed in broad daylight.
Even when the revenge portion of this cringe-worthy saga plays out, it seems to make no sense at all. It isn’t like a spontaneous expression of blind rage. Dutt takes two months to decide on his reaction. If only there were some nuance to it all, the way Sridevi’s character plotted her strategy in ‘MOM’.
I am, in fact, appalled that Sanjay Dutt chose this film to make a comeback after all these years. Aditi Rao Hydari looks ethereal and vulnerable but just can’t rise above this flawed script.
Instead of actually addressing a very real issue, this tearjerker seems exploitative.
I am giving a very generous one star to the film. The star is for the intent. The approach and the execution only left me with a bitter aftertaste.