Director Amar Kaushik’s claim to fame so far is Stree (2018). The film not only validated his craft as a storyteller, but also changed the style of making horror comedies in Bollywood. Later, films like Roohi (2021) and very recently Phone Bhoot (2022) have been similar failed attempts by others. The only exception being Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 which revived the Hindi film industry post-pandemic.
With Bala (2018), Amar stirred a conversation around baldness in a funny way. However, that same year, Abhishek Pathak’s directorial Ujda Chaman took the cake for its more realistic approach to the same subject.
Now, coming to Bhediya, Bhaskar (Varun Dhawan), a contractor, along with two of his friends propose a road map for development in the middle of the vast jungle set in Arunachal Pradesh but he faces the wrath of nature soon after he gets bitten by a wild wolf in the forest. Dr. Anilka (Kriti Sanon), a vet doctor based there, helps in unravelling the mystery.
With Bhediya, Amar touches upon the concerned issues of deforestation, wildlife conservation and discrimination in the North East region but he wastes too much time in repetitive visuals and the dragged banter of the ensemble cast especially in the second half. The first half has a solid introduction to the out-of-the-box concept rather we can say an original screenplay but the second half doesn’t add anything new to it until a big twist comes.
Also, the film stands out in comparison to Anek (2022), which had a similar theme but Anubhav Sinha chose to tell it in a documentary style rather than a mainstream format. It was too complex but Bhediya is simple and not preachy.
Bhediya definitely has great ‘howling’ entertainment, top-class VFX, an unprecedented narrative, one dance number and a brilliant crossover with Stree. However, it still somewhere it disappoints in its execution since the subject has a limited range and a very convenient closure. Well, there’s one thing for sure, Amar’s female characters always have a 'surprise' value irrespective of their screen time.
Varun transforming into a wild creature is stunning to watch and that obviously is the highlight of the film but for a mainstream actor like him, it is so important to have variety in choosing scripts unlike a few actors, who do films for social awareness but forget to entertain audiences.
Kriti has a brief role but an important one, she is okay. Abhishek Banerjee has become a necessary force to make people laugh, be it Stree, Dream Girl and now Bhediya. Deepak Dobriyal is average and Saurabh Shukla is wasted.
Overall, Bhediya is a good one-time popcorn entertainment and a decent distraction from the monotony.