Safe to say, it’s not just the land that is barren in the film, it’s also the director’s imagination.

Jayam Ravi in Bhoomi still holding his finger up
Flix Review Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 13:35
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Jayam Ravi’s movies usually give one the feel of sitting through a mildly entertaining statistics lecture where the professor occasionally breaks into song and dance. Bhoomi, directed by Lakshman, has released on Disney+Hostar for Pongal and is no different.

Ravi plays Bhoominathan, a NASA scientist who was learning ‘A for Aperture of Radar’ when other kids around him were learning ‘A for aapil’. All this information is helpfully provided by white news anchors around the world whose dialogues are translated into unnecessarily accented Tamil. Bhoominathan is all set to go to Mars, but before that he decides to visit his mathrubhumi, a village in Tamil Nadu where farmers are suffering.

In the middle of Bhoomi ogling the bare waists of saree-clad native women and singing about how NASA discovers tomorrow what people in his hometown already knew yesterday (why did you go to NASA then, dude?), Bhoomi also finds time to discover the agrarian crisis. In a Swades turn of events that comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody, Bhoomi decides to stay back and become a farmer.

If Bhoomi is the man who was planning to go to Mars, Nidhhi Agerwal as Sakthi appears to already be from there. With cutesy exaggerated gestures and pouts, Sakthi could be an alien who does not know human language and must resort to such gimmicks to make herself understood. Unfortunately, that’s not the plot of the film (imagine how kickass the scene when Bhoomi says, “Marslendhu unna naan love pannuven” would have been, if Sakthi had offered to host him in her alien settlement there).

Watch: Trailer of Bhoomi

What we get is the tried, tested and failed formula of ‘corporate’ villain with helicopter and white suit (Ronit Roy) Vs Man of the Soil. There’s also John Vijay and Radha Ravi as the desi villains to stretch the thin plot even more. If Sivaji Ganesan was famous for reeling off dialogues with alliteration, Jayam Ravi’s forte is chanting dialogues with numbers. I caught myself wondering if I was watching the hero speak or a particularly animated PowerPoint presentation.

The camera focuses on Bhoomi’s belligerent eyes; there are slow-mo shots of Bhoomi running with angst; close-ups of Bhoomi’s outraged face. The background score tries to whip up our emotions with every ‘intelligent’ move made by Bhoomi. However, none of it leaves an impact because this story has been told so many times and in exactly the same manner. There’s nothing out of the planet about these ideas, and you’d probably find a hundred rejected scripts that say the same thing in Kodambakkam.

The problem is not that a story about the agrarian crisis has been made. It is that it has been made so lazily, reducing complex issues to simplistic slogans. Worse, the farmers themselves are portrayed as gullible, ignorant people who need a saviour like Bhoomi to land in their midst.

Safe to say, it’s not just the land that is barren in the film, it’s also the director’s imagination. You may just want to go to Mars without a return ticket by the time Bhoomi draws to an end.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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