Bhakshak Director Pulkit Recalls Battling Cancer While Scripting The Bhumi Pednekar-Starrer: 'Our Pain Was Nothing'

Bhakshak Director Pulkit Recalls Battling Cancer While Scripting The Bhumi Pednekar-Starrer: 'Our Pain Was Nothing'

Bhakshak highlighted the case of young teenage girls being sexually assaulted at a shelter home

Sagarika Choudhary Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 03:35 PM IST
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Bhumi and Pulkit in a BTS still from Bhakshak |

Actress Bhumi Pednekar recently starred in the hard-hitting social drama, Bhakshak, which highlighted the case of young teenage girls being sexually assaulted at a shelter home. The film, based on the real Muzaffarpur shelter home case, received rave reviews from masses and critics alike, and post the release, The Free Press Journal got in touch with director Pulkit, who shed light on what went behind the cameras.

Excerpts:

Why did you decide to direct Bhakshak?

I was in pain, a lot of pain in 2019, hooked to the IVs in the hospital, fighting a demon called cancer. My wife, also my co-writer, Jyotsana, suggested that to come out of the bad times, we needed to write. We started looking out for stories through which we could reflect on pain and suffering. And we came to know about a shelter home mishap in Deoria. We started digging further and realised a lot of shelter home cases across the country had the same story. We were shaken and suddenly we felt that our pain was nothing. And that was the moment we decided to make Bhakshak.



What was your brief for Bhumi Pednekar?

Bhumi is a brilliant listener. The one thing we knew from day one was that this film demands honesty. I remember meeting Bhumi over a coffee to discuss the film and I told her playing Vaishali was a very responsible thing as an actor. And when I saw her in front of the camera for the first time, I was blown! She played Vaishali with utmost sincerity and responsibility.


 
How was it working with her?

There are two kinds of actors -- one who is only concerned about the costume, makeup, dialogues or their part in a scene but Bhumi is the other kind. She got so much more to the table. Her script notes, questions and curiosity to play the character was exceptional. She was least bothered about the costume, dialogue or her part in the film. She played Vaishali as if she had always been in Patna, running a local news channel.

What were the most important points on your mind during the shoot?

The film deals with sexual abuse among children. Since the beginning, I always kept in mind that I needed to tell a story which was accessible to all. I never wanted to show anything too disturbing or something which the audience could not connect with. I wanted to initiate a conversation through the film, for which it had to be simpler. The response we are getting for the film makes me feel good that we took that route.



What was the most difficult scene to shoot in Bhakshak?

The opening scene. It takes a lot to shoot a scene where things are just not easy. It breaks you as a human. I remember after shooting that sequence, I couldn’t sleep the whole night. What broke me was not just that scene we shot but also the fact that what we shot had really happened to someone. This thought still makes me restless. I wonder why humans have gone to a level where even demons would not?



What is the best feedback that you've received for Bhakshak?

I showed the film to my lawyer friend, Fauzia and her husband in Delhi. Fauzia has been a great support during the writing of this film and as a lawyer, they do fight a lot of cases where power gets abused. They had also fought against child sex abuse at a shelter home. After the screening, Fauzia and her husband were in tears. Her husband hugged me and told me thank you. Trust me, it was more than any award.

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