Bheed: When Lockdown Became a Dark and Sad Reflection of Partition

Bheed, an upcoming drama movie by Anubhav Sinha, shot in black-and-white, depicts the country’s gloomy lockdown period during the pandemic. It showcases how a major mass of people was abandoned far from home beneath the open sky, having no idea of what was coming their way. The movie draws up a parallel narrative with the bitter conditions faced by people during the partition of India in 1947.

The lockdown hit some 200 million migrant workers the hardest, pushing them into unemployment and a long journey back home.

About Bheed and Anubhav Sinha

Anubhav Sinha’s Bheed is an intense drama focusing on the lesser-talked-about hardships faced by a segment of the Indian population and their struggle to cope with the after-effects of the sudden lockdown announcements. The movie documents the dark phase across India when state borders were sealed for fear of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Bheed paints a picture of both fear and despair accompanying these vulnerable moments—it’s a hard but necessary reminder that human suffering can’t be hidden or erased. The movie serves as an emotional reminder that even amidst tragedy, we can come together to find resilience and hope.

Anubhav has gathered a reputation for himself as a realistic film director who, in his films, tends to tap into social and political issues from an unexplored perspective. Some of his previous acclaimed works include “Thappad”, which highlighted domestic violence, while “Mulk” and “Article 15” talked about religion and caste-based discrimination, respectively.

Sinha says his purpose for making the movie is to show how “the world has become smaller than ever”, and that borders no longer define us. His vision behind the film is to bring awareness to the inhumanity, racism, and prejudice caused by borders being closed – issues still present today in many countries worldwide.

Major problems faced by Indians during the lockdown

During the pandemic, India faced many challenges–ranging from lack of bare minimum necessities like food and shelter to employment issues and all this while tackling an increasing number of deaths. In addition, millions of people had to travel vast distances because all kinds of transportation were shut down. The lockdown was especially hard on the daily bread workers and labourers who lost their jobs due to the closure of all on-site activities during the pandemic.

The film showcases how people had no option but to work long hours with low pay to survive economically, as there was uncertainty about the length of the lockdown. Additionally, medical and police personnel all over India worked day and night tirelessly without proper protection or healthcare benefits to fulfill their duties. All these hardships made it difficult for Indians of all classes to cope with such a rapidly changing environment that gravely affected their health physically and mentally. Moreover, this had a serious financial impact on many households, with thousands losing their livelihoods due to lockdowns.

The Plight of migrants and its Depiction in Bheed

The plight of thousands of migrant workers during lockdown has been a heartbreaking story, with millions trying to connect with their families on foot, only to find their paths blocked by borders. Bheed makes a striking link between the situation in India during Covid-19 in 2020 and the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, providing the situation with a totally unexplored perspective.

The movie highlights essential takeaways from this experience. It shows how hastily imposed lockdowns can be a double-edged sword – while necessary for public health in many cases, they can cause immense disruption to vulnerable populations who depend on migration for their livelihoods and face language barriers, lack of resources and cultural isolation. It’s an eye-opening message about how the most vulnerable members of society can be left out of conversations about policy decisions, even if those decisions are meant to be for their own good.

This is where the significance of Bheed truly lies – through its various vignettes, and it captures the harsh reality and emotional turmoil that many hardworking individuals had to face during the pandemic. For example, as the story of a man who loses his job and can’t get back home unfolds, we gain insight into what it feels like to be out of one’s comfort zone in an unfamiliar place without any assistance. This is echoed in another vignette, where a low-income family whose livelihood depends on their daily wages is shown trying to make ends meet.

The film serves as a reminder of the saying “History Always repeats itself” and that even in our darkest times– we must not forget our shared struggles and humanity. Bheed strikes up a thought of awareness in the audience and others working in the film industry about the need for more realistic and responsible cinema, which depicts issues, problems and struggles on a larger scale.

Releasing on 24th March 2023, Bheed is a movie starring Rajkumar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar, along with Pankaj Kapur, Ashutosh Rana, Dia Mirza and Kritika Kamra.


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