Bhoomi, a film by Omung Kumar and come-back film of Sanjay Dutt is one more film on a very disturbing topic of rape. The plot of the film is sensitive – a girl, who is brought up by her father, when grows up and is about to get married, a day prior to that she is being raped by a guy who was rejected by her. Offlate, we saw two Hindi films – Raveena Tandon’s Maatr and Sridevi’s Mom, where mothers rose heroically and at times in an unrealistic manner to take revenge against their daughters’ rapists. And in Kaabil also, same theme is used where a husband tries to take revenge for his wife’s ordeal. Here, we see Sanjay Dutt taking revenge for his daughter’s rape. The very word rape is scary, sensitive, disturbing and so whenever a film revolves around rape and revenge, it becomes difficult to review the film. But, as a piece of art, the film needs to be reviewed and on that front Bhoomi absolutely fails. It turns out to be a very tedious watch. It is sad that the victim girl is raped again and again by the society, neighbourhood. And, if the girl chooses to go to the court then she is subjected to another series of gang rapes by the advocates, witnesses etc. through the grilling processes during court proceedings. It is an irony that the men who are the culprits move freely in the society and they don’t even shy away from threatening the girl and her family / well-wishers. The film had potential, but it is beyond my understanding why Sanjay Dutt chose this one as his come-back film. We have seen him giving powerful performances in the past be it Agnipath or Vastava or Zinda… But here, a mediocre Sanjay is trapped in a mediocre film.
The film begins with a girl being kidnapped and her juttis falling on the street. Then the frame moves back a month earlier where the titular character Bhoomi (Aditi) is shown performing in a marriage along with her fiancée Neeraj (Sidhant Gupta). The very first song ‘Jugni, will you marry me’ does not connect with the hearts. In another frame, Arun Sachdeva (Sanjay Dutt) and his brother (or friend, not clear) Shekhar Suman are shown to be drinking at home. Their conversation was intended to generate humour but unfortunately it does not happen. Bhoomi gets angry when she enters home and sees her dad and uncle drinking. She is then pampered by Arun and he persuades her to have food. These scenes could have been more powerful where the strong bond between father-daughter was to be established. Arun runs a footwear shop. Bhoomi is single-handed brought up by Arun, she stutters. Arun is very excited (though his expressions tell a different story altogether) for Bhoomi’s marriage. Vishal enters into the scene when Arun goes to his shop to distribute Bhoomi’s wedding card. Here audience got to see a very soft-spoken guy Vishal who loves Bhoomi. But later this very guy, when rejected in love by Bhoomi, becomes obsessed and joins hands with his cousin brothers (friends) for committing the crime. Dhauli (Sharad Kelkar) loves to play a game Hide and Cheekh (Shout) wherein men run behind girls and catch them to spend the nights. Oh, absolutely a b-grade film. To top it all, Sunny Leone appears in mud-clad-body in an item number. One keeps wondering that what happened to Omung Kumar, who gave us Mary Kom and Sarabjeet. Omung has not done justice to Bhoomi.
The name Bhoomi might have been chosen metaphorically to show the patience of earth, but in many scenes, the characters have become mere spectators. Editing also seems weird.
What happens to Bhoomi? What happens to her marriage with Neeraj (Sidhant Gupta)? How does she handle the turmoil of her life? How are the characters of Dhauli, Vishal, Jithu (Riddhi Sen) weaved in the story ?
Certain questions which are there in my mind: Why Sanjay Dutt’s character had to be a drunkard? How did Aditi’s stuttering add to the script? Why Sanjay kept the same emotion on his face and maintained dopey monotone? What happened to Shekhar Suman? He has given a very dispassionate performance. Even, where the audience is supposed to laugh, his dialogues and mannerisms don’t generate any humour. And post –interval, his character vanishes for a pretty long time, whereas that was a crucial time, when he was supposed to be shown to be with Bhoomi and Arun; is it editing problem or the screenplay did not have it? Why the hell Arun had to eat lice while making Bhoomi’s hair? Initial proceedings in the court were focusing more on the love angle of Neeraj and Bhoomi rather than focusing on rape, why so ? Why did the villain characters lost their power every now and then?
The film does highlight that minors can commit rape but not punished since he is not 18. It also shows a different kind of response towards the tragedy. But that is it!!!
Bhoomi turns out to be a tedious watch. Mediocre actings trapped in mediocre script. The film does not pick up at all, be it in terms of story, screenplay, dialogues, acting, performances. Such a sensitive topic handled in an absolutely insensitive manner. Skip the film !!!
There's a scene towards the end where a person falls in a stepwell and drowns. The person is unable to bob and bring himself up because the surface of the water is covered with long pieces of cloth. It is just one of the many things that director Omung Kumar gets wrong in his third feature film, Bhoomi, a flawed revenge drama that is a collection of all revenge dramas that we have seen in Bollywood this year so far.
The first five seconds are enough to gauge what the film has in store for us, which uses a tried-and-tested formula to drive the hackneyed story ahead. In his first film post the completion of his incarceration, Sanjay Dutt tries to exonerate himself by playing, rather decently, a protecting father figure. He is Arun, a footwear dealer, who finds his world turned upside down after his daughter Bhoomi (Aditi Rao Hydari) is gang-raped on the eve of her wedding. Unable to share his sadness over her motherless daughter's fateful plight and the anger over police apathy and insensitivity, shortcomings of the judicial system, and helplessness as an ordinary man, Arun tries to go the vengeance route and takes the law into his own hands.
It all sounds great on paper, but when Kumar, with writer Raaj Shaandilyaa, project it on screen, it does not look exactly convincing. Plagued by homegrown and narrow generality that "all men are dogs" is introduced right in the beginning. A lustful loverboy enjoys gulping down a leftover piece of food previously tasted by Bhoomi because it gives him the gratification of having touched the same item that once touched the lips of the woman that he failed to court. The expansion of this arc is what the rest of the film is about, which is all right as far as cinema is concerned. What is not right is a lack of characters that are neutral. Every man in the film is either a rapist (or a lustful guy who does not mind opening his fly in front of any woman) or Bhoomi's relative.
There are more issues in this film than there are good bits. For starters, some of the songs are totally unnecessary and unbelievably timed. A father is crying his heart out because he couldn't protect his daughter, and in the next scene, Sunny Leone wants me to feel trippy. Who prepared the demographic data for the makers? The police, that are inconsiderate at first, suddenly seem to be helping, or even abetting, Arun in his self-righteous deed that is later described as a universal solution (for the issue) by the same character in the epilogue. The villains look intelligent at first but then lose control of their own sanity and do dumb things. They are epitomes of banality that make the whole drama look unnecessary and a waste of time. We all know that courtroom sequences in Bollywood films are a joke, and this one here uses those same films as inspiration. The question about this film's existence, therefore, has to definitely come up.
This is a serious and violent film which does slip into lame territory a few times, thanks to Shekhar Suman. Although he puts up a good show after being away from the screen for years, the humor is hardly entertaining. I could say the same thing about Dutt's acting. He looks tired and carries the same weary air throughout the film. Hydari is lovely, but I couldn't connect with her character in the second half. A deadpan look is not the only facial expression in the dictionary of a person who has seen and been through ghastly things. Sharad Kelkar is the new Ronit Roy, and he does his part very well, compelling us to rejoice at his fate later in the film.
The final 30 minutes are a relief because the techniques used to exact revenge have the potential to keep you engaged. Arun is an ordinary man but his actions are extraordinary, thanks to writer Shaandilyaa for producing these few bits that are at least entertaining if not logical. The camera work is generally humdrum but there is one sequence around halfway where the film succeeds in capturing the misery of a man who is realizing that that moment is the point where his life is going to change forever.
Even though it has all the right ingredients and is supported by a talented cast, there are still issues that mar the film from being a valid entertainer. It tries to raise one too many questions and stumbles over at the first answer itself. There is also no hint about what the director wanted to convey. This again reinforces my statement about Dutt's exoneration, which would then make this a propaganda film, a case I do not wish to pursue.
If revenge dramas are the only type of films that you watch, then Bhoomi is going to be a treat. Otherwise, let me stop you from exposing yourself to 140 minutes of cliché, traditional writing, and a preachy and droll climax. You won't miss out on anything because you have already watched Kaabil or Mom or Maatr.