Bhoomi is the most dramatic, most manipulative, most sensational and most unsubtle film ever. Yet I would recommend you watch it because it deals with an issue (rape), our society so badly needs to address. The film begins with the father-daughter (Arun-Bhoomi) relationship played by Sanjay Dutt and Aditi Rao. The father lovingly feeds dinner to his daughter; the daughter throws a cute tantrum, the father applies oil to her hair and she dyes his hair black, they smile and cry together, making it all look so cute that you can smell a mishap from a mile. The writing is so obviously manipulating and performances so rehearsed that you know it’s all staged to make you feel bad for the duo when tragedy eventually and inevitably, strikes the family.
(I wanted to hand over the DVD of Piku to the makers.)
However, there are a couple of clever lines used that highlight the main issue of the film. For instance, as Arun says his morning prayers ‘Jai Ganesh Jai Ganesh…banjhan ko putr de…nirdhan ko maya’ (Bless the sterile with a baby boy), Bhoomi questions him on the obvious gender preference in the prayer, which is later linked in an emotional scene in the second half. Hence I suggest you go and watch the film. However, the rape scene is tacky. Instead of evoking any sense of fear or disgust or the basic sense of tragedy, it ends up being too filmy. One can’t help but recall 15 Park Avenue or the latest one, Mom that dealt with these scenes in a dark, depressing way. The action finally shifts to the court. Questions are raised on the rape survivor’s character in the most illogical, unreasonable ways. The prosecutor asks her how many times was she raped and how long it lasted, questions, that are answered by Bhoomi’s father, making the entire scene an epic dramatic fail to evoke any emotions for the victims. The scene tries hard to be Pink 2.O but fails miserably. Yet it manages to raise important points on how women are NEVER asking for it. Hence I suggest you go and watch the film. There is a heart-to-heart scene between Arun and Bhoomi where she insists on forgetting and moving on. Sanjay Dutt and Aditi Rao shine like stars, lending depth to otherwise mediocre lines and lifting the scenario considerably. The rest of the film becomes a revenge story, depending on too much gore and Sanjay Dutt’s heroism. Law, logic and pretty much everything in between take a walk in the park as our baba rises against the rapists and encounters them all one by one. What’s ironical is that filmmakers don’t realize how they treat their own women in a film that screams for justice for women. In a scene, a wife named Alka is alliterated with Al Qaida. She is called the reason for her husband’s ‘Al’coholism. Why? Because wife slandering jokes always work! We don’t realize that these jokes establish women as unimportant, secondary beings, who can be joked about. This adds to the rape culture of the country. The film also goes for the lowest hanging fruit, an item song, where a woman is objectified, that serves as a ‘not so’ unique selling point for the film. It is this superficial voice of the director that questions the intentions of the movie. You don’t make a film on an issue because it’s in vogue. You make a film on it because you really care and have a point to make. I almost feel the need of a film sorbet. I want to watch Pink again to cleanse the bad taste Bhoomi left me with. Yet I suggest you must go and watch Bhoomi because, no matter how contrived and superficial, it’s a comment on an issue that we all must talk about.