Bhikari review: When sensibility is pushed below the poverty line

Release Date: 04 Aug 2017 / 02hr 09min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The Swwapnil Joshi-starrer adds to the seemingly never-ending list of duds being produced by Marathi cinema this year.

It is important that a film's content justifies the title. But choreographer-turned-director Ganesh Acharya’s Marathi film Bhikari goes too far in doing so. It would be an understatement to say that the quality of the content in this Swwapnil Joshi-starrer is poor. The film pushes logic and sensibility below the poverty line.

Bhikari is the official remake of Tamil film Pichaikkaran (2016). It revolves around the super-rich Samrat Jaikar (Joshi), son of industrialist Sharada Jaikar (Kirti Adarkar). His father is no more, but Samrat has everything one can expect from a luxurious life, including foreign trips. His mother makes him the whole and sole of the company after being of his eligibility.

One day, while Samrat’s mother is visiting the factory with him, she has a gruesome accident and is rushed to hospital but slips into a coma. Samrat’s colourful world comes crashing down. He is ready to do just about anything to save his beloved mother. So when a priest suggests that he become a beggar and live like one, he agrees. This is how a multi-millionaire becomes a rank beggar. While a beggar, he meets Madhu (Rucha Inamdar) and falls for her. But will he be able to save his mother?

Bhikari scores low for the basic plot and its treatment. The accident in which Sharada Jaikar gets injured is quite absurd. But when compared with what follows, it actually appears sensible.

The biggest problem is the protagonist’s decision to live as a beggar for 48 days. A stranger casually suggests that he should try this and he agrees. We are not told how this would help revive his mother and Samrat doesn’t ask either. In other words, this is clear promotion of blind faith.

These, however, are not the only problems for Bhikari. From here on logic and sensibility get short shrift. Just consider the following:

– A man living a luxurious life has no problem adapting to the life of a beggar from day one.  

– Samrat doesn’t appear like a beggar even after his shirt and face become dirty. At times, he gets to wear good clothes, which the beggar company keeps in hiding for occasions.

– Samrat falls in love while pretending to be a beggar. In between, he goes to meet his love interest wearing good clothes. But he doesn’t change his old slippers, and that doesn't raise even a glimmer of doubt in the woman's mind. The mother's importance is also greatly reduced as other sub-plots get preference.

– Some tried-and-tested fight scenes are included gratuitously every now and then. In one such, the villain severely beats up the hero but doesn’t kill him because he is beaten up! So why beat him up in the first place? And no prizes for guessing that this gives the hero leeway to escape. 

– The incidents in the pre-climax and climax will leave you in splits if you haven’t laughed till that point. But just when you think you have seen enough, the director throws in a surprise through a Ganesh Chaturthi song to add spoilt icing on a mouldy cake. Acharya, a fine choreographer, brings in some weird dance steps this time.

Coming to the performances, Swwapnil Joshi is fine while portraying different emotions. But you do wonder about his decision to do the film at all. Kirti Adarkar as his mother gives a mature performance. Newcomer Rucha Inamdar is passable. It is painful to see the brilliant Milind Shinde being again reduced to a caricature. Sayaji Shinde is way over the top.

Bhikari simply adds to the seemingly never-ending list of duds being produced by Marathi cinema in 2017.