‘Bhediya’ opens the gates to director Amar Kaushik’s very own horror-comedy universe, the ‘Stree-verse’. Starring Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Abhishek Bannerjee, Deepak Dobriyal and Paalin Kabak, India’s first creature-comedy film ‘Bhediya’ released in theaters today.
With the entry of new characters and the comeback of a few old friends, ‘Bhediya’ checks all the boxes of a well balanced horror-comedy film and proves to be a good and entertaining one-time watch that you can go to theaters and experience in 3D this weekend.
Jungle jungle baat chali hain 🐺🙏💪 25 th Nov ko milte hain pic.twitter.com/i2s1046uKz
— VarunDhawan (@Varun_dvn)
November 23, 2022
Varun Dhawan’s Bhaskar Sharma arrives in Arunachal Pradesh with his cousin brother, Abhishek Banerjee’s Janardhan (JD) to complete a construction project. The duo, accompanied by their friend Jobin (Paalin Kabak) , want to cut the forest area to build new roads only to invite trouble to their doorsteps.
When Bhaskar gets bitten by a wolf in the jungle one night, things get topsy-turvy as they struggle to keep his new identity a secret while saving the lives of the locals.
The film will remind you of the 1992-Rahul Roy film ‘Junoon’ with its resemblance to the plot, but stands its own ground with an intriguing storyline.
Decent First Half
The first half of the film focuses on solely setting up the base for the second half of ‘Bhediya’. The film feels slow at some points, and the songs featured in the first half could have easily been avoided.
‘Bhediya’ first half banks heavily on the banter between Bhaskar Sharma (Varun Dhawan) and Abhishek Banerjee (Janardhan). While the latter steals the show with his comic timing, Varun Dhawan’s humor falls back on his comic timing.
Shot in Arunachal Pradesh, you’ll often end up feeling like ‘Bhediya’ is promoting the state’s tourism with one-liners and visual landscapes highlighting the underdeveloped state. But the film’s length could have easily been edited by at least 15-20 minutes to make it crispier and pacier.
‘Bhediya’ first half manages to set up the tone well for the second half of the film, and with a few minuses, makes for a decent introduction to the real plot.
Intriguing Second Half
Filmmaker Amar Kaushik keeps a lot under the wraps until the intermission of the film to keep the audiences guessing what’s next in the store. But just like the first half, the second half of ‘Bhediya’ too seems to lag and only gets interesting 20 minutes after the intermission.
‘Bhediya’ storyline does become obvious after a point, but Abhishek Banerjee’s comic timing and his screen presence makes every scene worth watching.
There are rants about discrimination, nature vs human debates and plenty of other dramatic conversations that take place in the film to send out messages about unity in diversity and protect your environment. While these shift the film’s track momentarily, ‘Bhediya’ shifts its gear back in full swing with its climax.
The highlight of the film though, comes in the post-credits scene as a surprise which will make you smile with nostalgia and wonder where the ‘Stree-verse’ will take you next.
Performance of the Cast
Varun Dhawan headlines ‘Bhediya’. The film marks his second outing this year, after his superhit family entertainer film ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’.
Just like the #BloodMoon, his power will come to rise too. 🐺🌕#Bhediya@Varun_dvn @krisanon @Deepakyahanhai @nowitsabhi #PaalinKabak @amarkaushik #DineshVijan @jiostudios @ZeeMusicCompany pic.twitter.com/38Bis7lAq4
— Maddockfilms (@MaddockFilms)
November 8, 2022
Varun Dhawan lacks the X-factor needed to highlight a film that should have been completely carried on his shoulder, but he might catch on the train with its character and its possibilities of exploring more films in the franchise.
One’s loss, another’s gain. This might be said for Abhishek Bannerjee in ‘Bhediya’, who walks away with the film with utmost ease. Abhishek Banerjee as ‘Janardhan’ is effortless and has perfect comic timing.
With not much to do, Kriti Sanon stars more in a supporting capacity than as a leading lady in ‘Bhediya’. The ‘Mimi’ star has less than 30 minutes of screen time in totality and does not get to use her caliber in full capacity.
For someone like Kriti Sanon who just proved her mettle in acting with ‘Mimi’, ‘Bhediya’ seems like a step back in her career.
Deepak Dobriyal dons a different look this time. With a few punchlines here and there, Deepak keeps it subtle in ‘Bhediya’ and his character takes a backseat for others to shine.
Paalin Kabak’s Jobin is decent and convincing. The fact that his character is used to represent the authenticity of the state in the film is definitely worthy of praise.
Amar Kaushik returns to the director’s chair with ‘Bhediya’. The director’s vision for his horror-comedy universe is clearly established with this Varun Dhawan-starrer and paves the way for multiple films in the ‘Stree-verse’.
Though the film could have been backed by a stronger plot and a pacier script, Amar Kaushik gets it right with the humor and some thrilling moments here and there which make ‘Bhediya’ a good one-time watch.
The music of ‘Bhediya’ fails to impress, with only Arijit Singh’s ‘Apna Bana Le’ standing out. As for other songs, they could have easily been removed from the film to make the duration shorter and edgier. ‘The Jungle Book’ title song will hit you hard with nostalgia.
For those not expecting much from ‘Bhediya’ graphics thanks to ‘Adipurush’ trailer, it comes as a pleasant surprise that the VFX used in the film are decent and believable.
‘Bhediya’ paves the way for Amar Kaushik’s horror-comedy universe. The film provides you with all the entertainment needed to make it a good one-time watch. ‘Bhediya’ brings the tales of folklore into mainstream cinema with an interesting plot, decent VFX and good performances overall make ‘Bhediya’ worthy of your time.
Watch ‘Bhediya’ especially for Abhishek Banerjee’s Janardhan, who will make you laugh every time he comes on screen and will keep you glued with his solid onscreen presence.
PS: Sit back for a special post-credit scene that will give you a sneak peek into the highly-anticipated ‘Stree-verse’ with a few old friends ready to welcome you in.
‘Bhediya’ is now streaming in theaters near you in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu as well as 2D and 3D.