‘Bhoomi’: Sanjay Dutt, Aditi Rao chemistry elevates the film (Movie Review, Rating ****)

Film: ‘Bhoomi’; Director: Omung Kumar; Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sharad Kelkar, Shekhar Suman; Rating: ****

“Jadd se ya dhadh se?” Sanjay Dutt plays a cruel KBC with his daughter’s rapist, offering to either kill or castrate him.

The pleading begging rapist takes the knife and plunges it into his pants.

I squirmed , as I was meant to. Bhoomi a film about a father and daughter’s revenge on her wrongdoers set in the seamier side of the city of the Taj Mahal, is not an easy film to view. Just because it stars Sanjay Dutt, don’t expect him to rise Phoenix-like to the occasion. With remarkable disregard for his larger-than-strife image, Sanjay Dutt plays an aging caring doting father who is a helpless mute entity in the case to fight his daughter’s violators.

The rape-revenge motif has been done so much to death I wondered why we need another film on the theme. But “Bhoomi” has plenty of surprises to offer. It never lets the very beautiful Aditi Rao play the victim-card eventhough she is violated humiliated and vilified repeatedly. Yet she stands tall and dignified. This could be because Aditi Rao in the film’s titlular role is just so frigging ethereal. Her makeup-free scrubbed and honest face conveys hurt, suppressed anger and hastily dismissed bewilderment. She is a treat to watch.

Put her on screen with Dutt and you have magic. Scenes such as the one where she tells her broken dad it’s time to rise above the tragedy, are pitch-perfect in their shrill yearnings, neither overstating nor trivializing the very grim issue of rape.

Sanjay Dutt though a little wheezy and out of rhythm, is heartrendingly avuncular.His breakdown in the courtroom is so raw and unrehearsed it washes away all cynicism. He seems so protective of his “Betu” and so shattered by her violation that we tend to forgive the film’s absolute absence of novelty. A parent grieving over a daughter’s rape is not just familiar territory it is also a territory that threatens to explode under the weight of overstatement in our cinema.

With rather unnecessary detailing Bhoomi charts out the daughter’s rape. Shot in a ramshackle single theatre ironically named Bhagwan Talkies, the gangrape is filmed against a backdrop of a film being screened within the film. In this way we are reminded of how cinema is responsible for an increase in sex crimes. (more)

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