‘Bhediya’ Review: An Apt Addition To The Amar Kaushik Universe Of All Things Supernatural

It is rare that one comes across a film that can be called an accurate addition to a universe that dared to explore fantasy horror comedy. A film that is as good as the first movie, “Stree”, and thankfully not as bad as “Roohi.” Dinesh Vijan’s horror-comedy universe gives us “Bhediya.”. This film marks the return of Amar Kaushik as the director who gave the fantastic “Stree,” which dealt with women empowerment, and a ghost that was after men who had wronged her all this while. “Bhediya” is about a man who becomes a half man and half wolf and his life since the transition. 


“Bhediya” begins with Bhaskar, a civil contractor with a civil engineering company that has been assigned the job of building roads in a remote forest in Arunachal Pradesh. Bhaskar is very eager to get this job done, for getting the green signal from the locals and the local authorities would mean more money from the company he works for and a soaring career ahead. On reaching Arunachal Pradesh with his cousin Janardan and along with his friend Jomin, the three of them set out to seek the approval of the local authorities for the cutting of the trees. Bhaskar has a fourth person joining their team, Mr. Panda, who will help them get the support of the locals as he understands the beat they move to. Though the authorities are bribed, the locals are hard to convince, for the forest is their source of food and shelter. Panda warns them not to meddle with nature, as nature will find a way to hit back at them.

One night, on the way back from a meeting with the authorities, Bhaskar is attacked by a wolf, and he gets bitten. Janardan and Jomin take him to Dr. Anika Mittal. She treats him but is surprised to see how quickly his injury has healed. Bhaskar starts feeling odd. His sense of hearing and smell changes, his body starts aching at random intervals, and he starts noticing changes in his body. On a full moon night, Bhaskar runs away from a party, and a local authority who agreed to the deal Bhaskar offered ends up dead, seemingly because of a vicious animal attack. Bhaskar realized he had turned into a werewolf since the bite, and the animal which bit him, too, was a werewolf known as Vishanu to the locals. As per the locals, Vishanu is a shape-shifting animal that infects people with its bite if they try to cut down the trees of the forest. It dawns on Bhaskar, Janardan, and Panda that Bhaskar is the werewolf who turns into an animal involuntarily on a full moon night and kills people without his knowledge. Does Bhaskar receive any cure for this? Or can he voluntarily stop killing people?


Dinesh Vijan’s ardor to bring in new stories in the horror-comedy universe is a passion that must be taken note of. “Bhediya” is a good watch and thankfully does not derail like Dinesh Vijan’s last venture in this genre, “Roohi.” This time, writer Niren Bhatt and director Amar Kaushik bring you the topic of how human beings are happy to encroach on forests, which are the livelihood of many animals and villagers. The messaging here is not very subtle, so the screenplay becomes repetitive and starts beating around the bush in the second half. The screenplay in the first half does a good job of setting the plot of the film. We get to see why Bhaskar is bitten, how the lore of Vishanu takes over a village, and how authorities are afraid of revealing to the villagers about the sudden reappearance of this mythical creature which would go miles to protect its habitat. 

The humor part of the film does land well, and the writer and director make sure they don’t overdo unnecessary gags just to move the film forward. Also, the humor here is part of the screenplay, and no additional element is added just for the sake of it. Sadly, the screenplay is not as smart as “Stree.” There is no comparison, but the message of saving the environment comes off as bland, with no intention of making it emotional. The surprise ending with the reveal of Vishanu comes and goes so quickly that audiences don’t have time to react to the big reveal. There was no build-up to who Vishanu was and why it was creating havoc in this town of Arunachal Pradesh. The screenplay felt incomplete in many parts, and the lore attached to it was not explained thoroughly. The werewolf was out there to hurt people, who would either die or eventually turn into another werewolf. This thing is supposed to work as a curse, but there is no explanation for how this curse originated, how it will be carried forward, or how it will help in saving the forests of the northeast, which are practically the lungs of our country. The screenplay also focuses on how greed and climbing up the money ladder cause humans to give up on the environment, an element that lets us breathe and live. Sadly, the screenplay was so busy cramming in many socio-political topics that it lost track halfway through. One thing the screenplay does well is keeping the mood of the film right, which keeps the audience on edge, and no unnecessary jump scares are used to add to the horror. There are genuinely scary scenes, while I am sure a lot of the animal attack scenes are inspired by the famous scene in “The Revenant.” Fortunately, the film is engaging because of the idyllic use of CGI and VFX to showcase Varun Dhawan’s transitions, and the werewolves themselves seem real and lifelike. They are not cringy, and at no point does the CGI or VFX feel out of place.


“Bhediya” delivers when it comes to amazing cinematography by Jishnu Bhattacharjee, which takes us through the lush forests of Arunachal, a part of the country that remains untouched by us and Hindi cinema. The camerawork briefly introduces us to the culture of the northeast and how they are connected to the nature around them. The music of the film is forgettable; none of the songs stay with you after the film is over. But the background score stands out, and Sachin – Jigar makes sure it does not overdo it keeping in mind the genre they are working with. Meanwhile, what does stay with you are the performances of all the actors in the film. Starting from Amar Kaushik’s favorite, Abhishek Bannerjee, who is fantastic as Janardan, Bhaskar’s cousin, a scary little chap who might be a tad bit racist too but means well and is trying his level best not to abandon Bhaskar and help him deal with the situation at hand. Paalin Kabak, in an interesting debut, gives us Jomin, a local, who is always on the receiving end of mean comments from Panda as well as Janardan. The scene stealer, though, is Dipak Dobriyal as Panda, who is a nature whisperer of sorts, the one who has lived in and around the forest for many years and is aware of what the nature around them is capable of, and he is the only point of contact between Bhaskar and the villagers. Varun Dhawan is Bhaskar Sharma, a clueless corporate employee who goes from being as cynical as anyone can get and believing in pushing his agenda of development at the cost of the environment to someone who understands the need to save the forests. Varun Dhawan’s literal and metaphorical transition in the film is a decent work by the writer to keep his character not exactly likable but also not as someone you would hate. Kriti Sanon as Dr. Anika Mittal is a letdown, especially in the end. I wish there was more depth to her character than is shown in the film. There was no point of connection between her character and the story that transpires in the second half.

“Bhediya” is a 2-hour, 36-minute film that could have been crisper, and the screenplay could have been more complex than it was. It lacked layers. Amar Kaushik and Niren Bhatt do not disappoint by the end of it, and there are interesting cameos, which would mean the interlinking of the universes and storylines and the possibility of a sequel that will have two universes being brought together. “Bhediya” is a good watch, and you should check it out if you are looking for a film that does not disappoint the genre it is based on.


“Bhediya” was released on 25th November 2022 and is running at theaters near you.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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