Bhoomi: Melodramatic and overdone
Poor execution transforms what could have been a good film with a decent premise into an overcooked melodrama
Bhoomi attempts to explore all that is wrong with a patriarchal Indian society following a woman’s rape, but its execution leaves much to be desired. What starts of as a somewhat endearing yet overly sentimental bond between a father and daughter, begins to spiral out of control into a bad revenge drama. Sanjay Dutt and Aditi Rao Hydari cannot be entirely faulted for their performances as they make a go of enacting an ordinary script. The same story could well have been made into a more realistic, and gritty film, but it seems as if Omung Kumar was bitten by the quintessential Bollywood bug. The film, despite its many masala moments, may have toed the average line had it not been for the unnecessary song and dance sequences (a cringeworthy item number to top it off) appearing now and then.
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Aditi Rao Hydari, Shekhar Suman, Sidhant Gupta, Sharad Kelkar
Director: Omung Kumar
Bhoomi is set to get married to her sweetheart soon, and is preparing for a life away from her beloved father. Just as the day nears, she is approached by her seemingly shy friend, who lets her in on his feelings for the umpteenth time. Annoyed by his inability to respect her wishes, she tells him, in no uncertain terms, to back off, and leave her be. After the rejection, he wallows in the drunken company of friends. While returning from work the next day, Bhoomi is kidnapped, drugged, and raped by the man and his two companions. On her wedding day, a visibly shaken Bhoomi narrates the incident to her fiancée. Word spreads quickly, and the marriage is called off. Her father and uncle rush to the station only to bear witness to police apathy and ineptitude. As the police visits the house to record her statement, Bhoomi is nowhere to be seen.
The film does indeed portray the insidious judgment that comes from all quarters in such cases. Bhoomi’s fiancée and his family abandon her for fear of dishonour; the neighbourhood that she was once an integral part of rejects and chastises her; the rapists go scot-free courtesy a farcical court case; her business takes a severe hit due to the incident – victim-blaming is on in full swing thanks to the patriarchal mindsets firmly in place. What happens to Bhoomi in the film is all true. It’s how the film portrays it that is the problem. Everything is overdone, from the acting to the whole revenge saga. Realism takes a backseat due to Bollywood-isation of the project. The only redeemable aspects come in the first fifteen minutes, with Sanjay Dutt and Aditi Rao Hydari playing an almost-believable parent-child relationship. As for the specifics, I have two questions to ask: how did Bhoomi go missing on her wedding day (unbeknownst to anybody, mind you), in spite of the fact that there were enough people at home? What kind of a court allows such drama to unfold within its walls, allowing all and sundry to make lengthy monologues, without putting an end to it? The answers are quite simple. Answer 1 – a bad Bollywood script. Answer 2 – an unrealistic Bollywood court. Bhoomi had enough potential in its premise to be made into a convincing and hard-hitting drama. Omung Kumar & Co. had other ideas, sadly.