‘Bhoomi’ review: appalling addition to Bollywood’s rape narrative

Bhoomi is yet another addition to the rape narrative in Bollywood, an appalling, hideous one at that. Sanjay Dutt in his latest comeback plays a widower, much in love with his only daughter Bhoomi (Aditi Rao Hydari). A shoemaker in Agra, he crafts a loving pair of mojdis for her for the impending wedding. But a day before the happy occasion she gets raped in a city cinema hall by a group of men, one of whom happens to be a scorned lover. What transpires hereafter is the worst assault on womanhood one has seen recently on screen.

  • Director: Omung Kumar
  • Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Aditi Rao Hydari, Shekhar Suman, Sharad Kelkar, Sidhant Gupta
  • Storyline: When justice eludes, a father teams up with his daughter to avenge her rape
  • Run time: 134.39 minutes

Omung Kumar doesn’t just make the men appropriate and dominate the discourse but in a most hideous, conservative way at that. The rape itself is filmed in cringingly exploitative manner, even worse is the court room sequence that makes a mockery of the legal system and of women themselves, that too at the hands of women.

It’s abominable how Kumar turns most of the women in the film, especially those around Bhoomi, into these inert, passive, pointless creatures. On the other hand there is the woman defence lawyer, who humiliates the girl horribly only so that father Dutt can rise up and give her a pious, old-fashioned lesson or two on being a woman first and a lawyer later.

And then we have the heroine herself, in the hoary cinematic tradition of yore, pouring buckets of cold water on herself after being violated. Washing away the sin are we? The rape doesn’t just remain a crime against Bhoomi but feels more like a violation of her father’s izzat. Eventually it ends up as a loud, grating, angry, gory revenge drama with both father and daughter getting together to indulge in some extreme action, especially when it involves a minor rapist. There is an evocation of Goddess Durga and a unique death by dupattas reserved for the villain. All of this nicely balanced out by a titillating Sunny Leone item number which goes “Hickey hickey hickey”. So much for espousing a woman’s cause in a film.

Aditi Rao Hydari pouts and preens, gets clobbered and punched and weeps copiously. Sidhant Gupta, the male interest, is as pouty and peaches-n-cream as she is. Sharad Kelkar shouts and screams as most villains are supposed to. Sanjay Dutt hasn’t lost his acting chops yet, rather seems to be maturing well. But why did he have to pick up a film this regressive for a return?

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 1:15:31 AM |

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