Bhediya movie review: This Varun Dhawan-Kriti Sanon rumble in the jungle is quite the romp

Bediya’s movie: Varun Dhawan, Abhishek Banerjee, Paalin Kabak, Deepak Dobriyal, Kriti Sanon
Bediya movie director: Amar Kaushik
Bediya movie rating: 3 stars

People turning into werewolves is so common that the thought of seeing another version did not make me jump: I am happy to report more ‘Bediya‘, where the protagonist turns into a wolf ‘icchha-dhaari’, is hilarious.

And it’s a lot of fun: the film was shot in Arunachal Pradesh, a beautiful landscape of the Northeast that is not trodden by tourists. On a mission to build a road through a dense forest, Bhaskar Sharma (Varun Dhawan) finds himself turning into a wolf, you know, a creature that lies on a full moon, howling across the valley. Bhaskar’s companions, Guddu (Abhishek Banerjee) and Jomin (Paalin Kabak) do a shocking-shocking-now-what-to-do number, as the local vet (Kriti Sanon) inserts suspicious needles into Bhaskar’s back, a reproductive organ. itself in an endless list of youth jokes.

In fact, juvenalia reigns supreme throughout the film. Most humorists take a scatological approach, finding the jollies, literally, potty-dwelling people, excrement, and the sights and smells of it. Guddu, who acts as the hero’s BFF/sidekick, does clowns well, and is so determined that we will laugh at his antics, that we give in.

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Dhawan does a good job of matching the tone of the film – very shocking ‘naam-ke-vaaste’, the comedy is the most interesting – and he gets many moments of detailed transformation, from human to werewolf, even. if the creature oscillates between looking terrifying to one that is made up of paintings. Back bending, hair blowing, tail sprouting, teeth sharpening – the CGI guys are clearly having fun. So is Dhawan, who puts his self-effacing powers to good use, and that works to the film’s advantage.

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Well, the whole point of ‘Bhediya’ is to show Bhaskar and his friends the error of their ways, and we get a lot of underlining talk about ‘prakriti’ and ‘progress’, and the importance of preserving forests and nature. But the characters who speak these lines manage not to sound preachy, and part of that has to do with a local (Deepak Dobriyal, almost unrecognizable in a shaggy wig) who acts as a bridge between the aforementioned young men, and the locals. who care about their environment. The film also slips in a few expressions about racism: ignorant people from North India will call the local chowmein, at least once, and make fun of the ‘outsiders’ before learning their lesson.

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The film goes crazy in that it never thinks what it wants to do with the only female character, even in her small arc: when Sanon is introduced, as ‘Jaanwar ka’s doctor’, we are encouraged to laugh at her, and the script takes its sweet time to correct that initial reaction. It also goes beyond calling the locals superstitious, saying ‘yahaan toh aise hi hota hai’: ‘ojha’ evokes the myth of the werewolf, and the shamanesque image comes close to caricature.

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But again, the film bounces back, once in a while, with a well-judged potty-mouthed line or two, and its characters babbling about being silly idiots to some zippy songs. This is where the film is confident, and where director Amar Kaushik is very confident, because he gave us similar characters in his previous ‘Street’, and ‘Bala’. And because these guys are on screen most of the time, the peak of stupidity done with certainty is pretty much what we get. A few moving moments, shared between Sanon and Dhawan, broke the ha-ha-hee-hee, and gave it a little depth. But the film is so determined not to be ‘deep’, that those moments come and go, making you wish there was more to it.

Clocking in at 2.36 hours, ‘Bediya’ begins to wear out its reception towards the proper climax. But when it’s going well, this jungle buzz is loud.


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