- BOTTOM LINE: For A Few Silly Laughs Only
|Platform: Zee5||Genre: Thriller|
What Is the Story About?
Bhinna is a plot revolving around Kaveri, a budding actress in the Kannada film industry who’s so consumed by the roles in her films that she fails to distinguish between fiction and reality. Her marriage life isn’t exactly rosy either, with both she and her husband indulging in relationships beyond their nuptial knot. She is in an affair with the very man, whose wife is involved in an extramarital relationship with her husband.
Unable to deal with this deadlock and to focus on her acting career, Kaveri is on a resort-holiday, during which she plans to read the script of her next film. Eerily, the script and its characters mirror her marital situation and the people from her life. The thin line between the story and her real-life blurs with time. What is happening to her? Is this an illusion alone?
The performances don’t quite work in the favour of the film or the emotional travails of its characters. Paayal Radhakrishna is sincere in her portrayal of an actress for whom life becomes an illusion of sorts, but the newcomer is too raw to internalise the pain and helplessness of her character. The other actors fare worse, particularly the men – Shashank Purushotham and Siddharth Madhyamika. Both actors are so casual and careless with their body language and performances that they act as if they are doing a favour by enacting their parts. Sowmya Jaganmurthy, is passable, at best.
The first-ever Kannada web original Bhinna can be termed a hat tip to the Puttana Kangal-directed classic Sharapanjara, where the society ostracises a woman suffering from a mental illness. As a tribute, the characters in Bhinna too are named after the yesteryear film with several artsy references to a caged bird, music-bits on a radio set. While Sharapanjara was a film way ahead of its time, focusing on mental issues, anxiety disorders at a time people failed to recognise the importance of mental health, Bhinna reminds you that the issue is as relevant today. But are timeliness and good-intentions alone enough to make a good film? Not quite.
Although the series has a terrific premise and creates intrigue with its ‘film-within-film narrative’, the director Adarsh Eshwarappa fails to connect the dots convincingly. The characters are so loosely written that you aren’t able to empathise with their emotional plight and internal conflicts. The filmmaker’s non-linear narrative, switching between the characters in the script being read by the protagonist and her real life, is very abstract, to say the least. A viewer, just like the lead character in the film, loses an understanding of what’s happening with the story.
The hallucinations of Kaveri are showcased repetitively with little impact and the director even tries to replicate special effects, jump scares unique to horror films to elevate the tension. In a treatment so typical of award-winning films, the sluggish pace is a dampener. While limiting the narrative to four characters and their conversations between them, the script should have been so watertight at its 90-minute duration. But, even at its minimal length, you only wait for ‘the-end’ card halfway through the narration.
Bhinna is technically very strong but has little or no emotional impact. Despite all the talk about mental illnesses and the sensitivity in dealing with them, the director’s focus on schizophrenia in the climax seems like a namesake and last-ditch effort for inclusivity minus adequate detailing. Despite its compelling visuals, Bhinna ends up looking like a bunch of well-shot sequences stitched together sans a proper thread to intertwine them. Inspiring from classic films is nothing wrong, but, at least, make an honest attempt, please?
Music and Other Departments?
The sound design is the best thing that could have happened to Bhinna – there’s so much delicacy that the sounds contribute to the film’s atmosphere (and the five classical elements of the universe) – the wind, the flowing river, the fire, the earth and the void. The title song, placed aptly during the end credits, is quite catchy and offers you the spunk the film doesn’t have. The cinematography capturing the rural and touristy side to Karnataka is a sight for sore eyes. The writing is dull, weak. The detailing, intricacies in the visuals don’t match the filmmaker’s uninspiring storytelling.
Paayal’s performance in parts
Strong with the technical values
Interesting referencing with Sharapanjara
Abstract, dull screenplay
Lack of enough sensitivity in dealing with mental illness
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Bhinna Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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