‘Bheed’ Movie Review: This Is Anubhav Sinha In His Most Brazen Yet Restrained Best

By Sanjit Gupta

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The film is an intensely personal piece that mirrors Sinha’s torment and sorrow, almost as if the director has revealed their vulnerable emotions for all to see.‘Bheed’ Movie Review,bheed trailer,hindi,bheed movie story,bheed release date,

“Bheed” opens with a shocking news story that rocked the entire nation: a crowd of migrant workers who were making their way back home from Jalna, Maharashtra were tragically killed by a goods train as they rested on the tracks. The scene is shot in black and white, sparing the audience from graphic visuals, but this only serves to intensify the impact. This tragic event sets the stage for the gripping story that unfolds over the next 114 minutes.

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‘Bheed’ Movie Review


Director: Anubhav Sinha
Writers: Anubhav Sinha, Saumya Tiwari, and Sonali Jain
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Kapur, Bhumi Pednekar, Ashutosh Rana, and others
Rating: 4/5

In the year 2020, the story primarily takes place at a checkpoint near Tejpur where exhausted migrant laborers, making their way back to their hometowns, are halted due to the sudden closure of state borders by the government. Leading the operations at this seemingly insignificant post is the newly appointed in-charge, Surya Kumar Singh Tikas, portrayed flawlessly by Rajkummar Rao. His team is outnumbered and struggling to handle the overwhelming situation. Alongside him is his girlfriend, Renu Sharma (played by Bhumi Pednekar), a medical intern tasked with testing and treating sick migrants for Covid. Also in the mix are Circle Officer Subhash Yadav (Ashutosh Rana), whom Tikas reports to, and Ram Singh (Aditya Shrivastava), a man of higher caste who is now under Tikas’s authority.

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As trucks and buses packed with migrant laborers flood into the checkpoint, which lacks basic necessities such as food and amenities, tension rapidly escalates, and tempers flare. The situation becomes rife with caste-based politics, class discrimination, religious intolerance, demonstrations of power, and unabashed displays of privilege. Misinformation is spread through WhatsApp, fear of the unknown runs rampant, and desperation sets in. Pandemonium and chaos reign supreme until suddenly everything comes to a head, reaching a boiling point.

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Anubhav Sinha’s recent film is characterized by its direct, taut, and stark style. The movie is a work of fiction inspired by the real-life news headlines that highlighted the struggles of migrant workers during the Covid-induced lockdown. It touches upon the Tablighi Jamaat Covid hotspot news and how it affected the Muslim population among the migrants, leading to an increase in Islamophobia across the country. However, amidst the tales of hardship and despair, there are also stories of hope and resilience, such as that of 15-year-old Jyoti Kumari Paswan. Jyoti’s inspiring journey of cycling 1200-km from Sikandarpur in Haryana to Darbhanga in Bihar, carrying her ailing father, is portrayed brilliantly by Aditi Subedi. The movie captures the challenges faced by Jyoti as she navigates through a crowd of people, with her alcoholic father saddled on her cycle.

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The director has gained a reputation in recent years for addressing difficult social and political issues that challenge India’s democratic ideals. His previous films have tackled topics such as patriarchy and domestic violence (Thappad), caste discrimination (Article 15), religious extremism (Mulk), and the complex relationship between the North East and the rest of India (Anek). In his latest film, Bheed, the director’s style has evolved, demonstrating a more mature approach. While still addressing social issues, Bheed is less ostentatious than his previous work, though it can become overly moralistic at times. Nonetheless, the film is powerful and moving, with a subtler touch than the director’s previous outing, Anek.


Similar to his previous work, Article 15, Anubhav Sinha’s latest film sheds light on the persistent caste divide that exists in modern India. However, the perspective is different this time, as the story is not told through the eyes of an upper-caste individual with privilege. Instead, the protagonist is Surya Kumar Singh Tikas, a Dalit policeman who comes to embrace his caste identity, despite being constantly reminded of his lower status in society, even as he rises through the ranks in the police force. On the other side of the conflict is Balram Trivedi, a bigoted patriarchal Brahmin watchman who goes rogue when confronted with the magnitude of the situation. Despite being on the opposite side of the law, when Tikas confronts him, Trivedi treats him as a Dalit rather than as a fellow man in uniform.


Although less pronounced than in Mulk, Anubhav Sinha once again explores the theme of rising Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims in his latest film. This is exemplified by Balram Trivedi’s reluctance to accept food from members of the Muslim community, even when experiencing severe hunger. Through nuanced writing, the film also highlights the bias in media coverage, where only the story of a bus full of Muslim migrants is deemed newsworthy in the midst of a national disaster.


Rajkummar Rao delivers a brilliant performance as Tikas, and his scenes with Pankaj Kapur, who portrays Balram Trivedi, are phenomenal and showcase nuanced acting at its best. Bhumi Pednekar’s performance is natural and effortless, fitting perfectly into her character. Ashutosh Rana and Aditya Srivastava are also effective in their respective roles.


Dia Mirza plays a character who reeks of privilege, similar to Marie Antoinette, in the film. She is desperate to reach her daughter who is in a hostel, but her motivation goes beyond just motherly instincts, as she also wants to beat her estranged husband in the race to reach their daughter first. Kritika Kamra portrays Vidhi Prabhakar, a television reporter following the events on the ground, who delivers a few poignant speeches. However, despite the impeccable performances by both actors, these characters are largely wasted in the film.

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The writing in Bheed, by Anubhav Sinha, Saumya Tiwari, and Sonali Jain, is skillful, although there are some preachy moments in the film. Soumik Mukherjee creates stunning visual poetry with his camera, using stark black and white frames, while Atanu Mukherjee’s editing is brisk, although the rhythm seems to be impacted by cuts made by the censor board. Anita Kushwaha’s sound design, Mangesh Dhadke’s background score, and Anurag Saikia’s music are all powerful, particularly the poignant song “Herail Ba,” which plays a vital role in creating the gut-wrenching experience of watching Bheed.



Bheed, directed by Anubhav Sinha, sheds light on the humanitarian crises that unfolded during the Covid lockdown. As the borders of states were sealed and transport channels shut down without an effective contingency plan, the migrant labor population, left jobless in the big cities, scrambled to go back home from all corners of India, while bureaucrats grappled with the logistical nightmare. The film also serves as a commentary on the escalating discrimination based on class, power, caste, and religion in modern India.


When I first watched the original trailer, I was apprehensive about the film possibly using the Partition as a dramatic ploy. However, the final version of the movie exercises restraint, resulting in a poignant portrayal of the subject matter. The film is a fictionalized account, constructed from the gut-wrenching stories of migrants as reported in newspapers during the lockdown. It is a deeply personal film that mirrors Anubhav Sinha’s agony and anguish. It feels as though the filmmaker has exposed his bleeding heart on the screen. The story is one that needs to be told, and the outstanding performances by the talented cast, including Pankaj Kapur, Rajkummar Rao, and Bhumi Pednekar, ensure that it is told exceptionally well. Overall, it is a sobering watch, one that is uncomfortable yet necessary.

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