Devashish Makhija is an unambiguous director whose cinematic repercussions are about non-escapism. His previous film Ajji was a gritty and disturbing revenge saga revolving around rape, while Bhonsle has been derived from Makhija’s terrific short film Taandav. With age-old protagonists, similar patterns are visible in Ajji as well as Bhonsle – even with grumpy old walls.
Bhonsle begins with a making of Ganesh Idol intercut with unmaking of Ganpat Bhonsle from his duty (retirement). Retired Bhonsle befriends a North Indian and her brother, when the local politicians are trying to get rid of migrants. Writers Mirat Trivedi, Devashish Makhija and Sharanya Rajgopal weave an intricately sensitive story questioning demarcation of boundaries, blind faith and religion.
Bhonsle is a superior film which avoids ambiguity and dwells in subtexts, where shots linger for brief moment to feel the emotion rather than the actor delivering it – visibly a director’s medium. With plenty of subtext motifs planted from animals (crow: bad omen, dog: mere spectator), the power lies in the arrogance of politics and faith. There’s a communal harmony with names like Churchill Chawl where Marathis and Biharis reside to even character named Sita, who is raped. Bhonsle dwells into harsh reality; from MNS Attacks on Migrants to lynchings in the name of religion, it sparks off thought-chain.
Manoj Bajpayee as usual slips into the character with sheer brilliance, minimalistic yet volume of deliverance makes an impact. Devashish exclaimed about making a landscape out of an actor, when an actor delivers through eyes it feels cliched, hence a lingering effect.
Devashish Makhija’s Bhonsle lingers briefly with a thought-chain questioning migration – from nature to humane and from humane to inhumane.
Fiction | Time: 133 Mins
Section: India Story | Country: India
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