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Bheed review – lockdown thriller traverses class conflict in India | Movies

‘NOTo you never make plans for the poor,” says a young police officer in this tense and painful pandemic drama from India. Shot in black and white, it is set at the start of the government-imposed lockdown in May 2020 that led to the exodus of 10 million migrant workers from Indian cities. The police officer was put in charge of a rural roadblock to prevent the working poor from returning to their families and villages – preventing the spread of the virus. But realizing that no help is coming, the crowd, feeling hungry and abandoned, becomes angry. The results are explosive, exposing the fault lines of caste prejudice and class conflict.

Officer Surya (Rajkummar Rao), himself comes from a lower caste family, but he climbs the ranks; he’s a competent, decent cop who refuses kickbacks or kickbacks (just what a modern police force needs). Yet his boss never lets him forget his place, and we see how Surya has internalized prejudice as well. The whole company presents itself at its checkpoint. A wealthy upper-caste woman (Dia Mirza) waltzes accompanied by her driver, expecting to sail. A young woman who worked as a servant in town risks her life to bring her alcoholic father back to their village. There is an elderly security guard traveling on a bus; then a film crew arrives from a TV news channel.

Taking a scalpel to the caste system, director Anubhav Sinha exposes how sub-castes and other divisions eradicate solidarity. Everyone at this checkpoint blames each other. A Hindu fumes at a Muslim, accusing Muslims of spreading the virus. The situation is like a gasoline spill – waiting for a match to be lit. Although when it does, disappointingly, after so many complex and difficult dramas, it happens with more fizz than kick.

Bheed hits theaters on March 24.


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