Eastern Eye (UK)

Powerful drama relives India’s Covid-19 nightmare


Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Dia Mirza, Ashutosh Rana, Pankaj Kapur Director: Anubhav Sinha

THERE have been various Indian attempts at telling stories set during Covid-19 and few have been as affective as this film from a director, who continues his journey of making commercial movies with meaning.

The powerful drama shot beautifull­y in black and white revolves around the plight of those attempting to return home when the pandemic struck India, without any transport. The story based very much on real events focuses on various individual­s from different social background battling against their own challenges from journeying home on foot to reluctantl­y enforcing the law and trying to make a positive difference.

Although the writer/director was reportedly hampered by edits enforced by the government­controlled censor board, he still manages to tell a powerful story that captures an important moment in time and does so without being preachy.

Bheed instead takes you into real human emotions that many felt during that turbulent time, including feeling helpless, scared, angry, afraid, confused and determined. It skilfully weaves the various stories together in what becomes a visually striking and compelling drama. While telling the story, Sinha once again shines a spotlight on an Indian caste system that cripples so many, and misunderst­anding based unfairly on religion. Although the various stories have real power, the main driving force of this film are outstandin­g performanc­es from the lead cast. Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar and Pankaj Kapur are particular­ly good in their respective roles, generating real power in every scene they are in.

Some may find the film slow, and many would not want to relive a turbulent time they are trying to forget. The movie perhaps demanded a more impactful ending.

That doesn’t stop this from being one of the best Bollywood films released in the past year and why it is well worth watching. It could have likely generated even more power if the censor board didn’t enforce cuts.

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