True crime incidents in Muzaffarpur, Bihar have inspired the “Bhakshak” (भक्षक) Hindi movie, and its title means “Predator”. However, the film is set in the fictional Munawwarpur city.
So, this movie is said to draw inspiration from the real-life case of Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Rape Case, where former Bihar MLA Brajesh Thakur and 11 others were convicted and given life imprisonment for sexually abusing numerous underage girls. This latest film from India is inspired by the tragic crime that took place in Muzaffarpur. Also, you can read the spoilers below for the extra details about the real crime events that inspired the film.
Trailer of the Bhakshak (2024) Movie
Synopsis of the Bhakshak (2024) Movie
A struggling local journalist Vaishali Singh (Bhumi Pednekar) begins a dogged investigation into harrowing cases of abuse being covered up at a shelter for young girls in Bihar. Thus it revolves around the journey of an unwavering woman’s quest to seek justice and her perseverance in bringing a heinous crime to light.
Ratings of the Bhakshak (2024) Movie
|FM Short Comments
|Kudos, it is a brave effort on their part to make this crime drama with political undertone. Although the makers of this film have changed quite a few details from the real-life incident, it is still a relevant film in today’s context. The acting performances by Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra, Aditya Srivastav, Tanisha Mehta, and the rest of the ensemble cast are good.
Spoiler Free Review of the Bhakshak (2024) Movie
The “Bhakshak” (भक्षक) Hindi film is a tale of the “Predators”, who prey on the vulnerable children staying at the shelter for young girls in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. But the government (political & bureaucratic) machinery does not act in time, despite the presence of the published report. And this brings to the fore the basic question?
There is a very popular statement in Hindi that goes like this "Jab Rakshak Hi Bhakshak Bun Jaye, Tub Iss Pradesh (Desh) Ka Kya Hoga" ("जब रक्षक ही भक्षक बन जाये, तब इस प्रदेश (देश) का क्या होगा")? Loosely translalated it means "When the Protector becomes the Predators, then what will happen to this state (country)?"
Unique Selling Point (USP) of this Hindi film
The tragic and hard-hitting reality of the Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Case in Bihar is very difficult to ignore. More so, when all the details of the said heinous criminal case are still fresh in our minds. These terrible incidents took place in Muzaffarpur, in the neighbouring state of Bihar. And we are aware of the prevailing political, law and order situation there.
The writers of this film have changed quite a few details in this film (check the spoilers shared below). But still, this crime drama is a compelling film to watch.
Good and Not-So-Good aspects of the film
The ensemble cast led by the lead actress Bhumi Pednekar (Vaishali Singh) has done a wonderful job. Besides, it was refreshing to see Aditya Srivastav (Bansi Sahu) play the lead villain. We have seen him working as a heroic police officer in the popular C.I.D. series in India. Almost all the negative characters and their actions evoked our anger and extreme outrage. And all of these supporting actors – Sanjay Mishra (Bhaskar Sinha), Sai Tamhankar (SSP Jasmeet Kaur), Chittaranjan Tripathy (Mithilesh Sinha), Tanisha Mehta (Sudha Kumari), Durgesh Kumar (Guptaji), etc. have played their part well. Most of them got the Bihari accent right. In addition, the depiction of life in a small town in Bihar is accurate.
One of the not-so-good aspects of the film was the central focus of its script. As it kept most of its focus on the protagonist Vaishali Singh and not on the victims. In addition, we feel that all of its angry and moral preachings were directed towards the common public (aam-janta) and/or society. Maybe, it should have focussed more on systematic failures of government setup in this case. Wherein the politically connected powerful men (Bahubali) of North Indian states often get away with such vile and reprehensible crimes. That too under the active protection of the ruling elite. But, maybe, honest discussion on the media and political machinery is not possible as of now. There is a lot of food for thought, perhaps.
We wish that they could have tightened the script further. But, maybe the present-day political environment in India will not allow them to do so. So, it subtly hints at the failures at the different levels of the political, bureaucratic and policing machinery in Bihar. We appreciate the brave efforts put in by its entire team for this significant real-life tale of India. Despite a few flaws, it is a must-watch film about contemporary India. Watch it.
Key Details about the Bhakshak (2024) Movie
|2 hours 14 minutes
|Jyotsana Nath & Pulkit
|Bhumi Pednekar (Vaishali Singh), Sanjay Mishra (Bhaskar Sinha), Aditya Srivastav (Bansi Sahu), Sai Tamhankar (SSP Jasmeet Kaur), Chittaranjan Tripathy (Mithilesh Sinha), Tanisha Mehta (Sudha Kumari), Durgesh Kumar (Guptaji), Surya Sharma (Arvind Singh), etc.
Poster of the Bhakshak (2024) Movie
Spoilers Alert – real-life case of Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Case, Bihar
How did the sordid details of this heinous crime come to light?
In June 2017, Mohammed Tarique, a researcher from TISS, along with a group of colleagues, approached Atul Prasad, the Secretary of the Social Welfare Department in the Bihar Government. Their purpose was to request permission to survey the state of certain privately run shelter homes in Bihar.
The Government of Bihar (Nitish Kumar was CM in 2017) gave TISS the requisite permissions for the said surveys.
A total of 110 shelter homes in Bihar were audited by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. This audit revealed a disturbing racket involving the sexual abuse of numerous young girls, some of whom were minors. Their report was released in April 2018 by a team of seven young psychologists from TISS’ field-action project known as the ‘Koshish Project’.
They have uncovered shocking revelations regarding “physical and sexual violations” inflicted upon numerous young girls, specifically at the Muzaffarpur shelter home. As a result, in May 2018, the concerned government department lodged a First Information Report (FIR) at the women’s police station in Muzaffarpur, requesting ‘appropriate measures’ to be taken regarding the distressing situation of the girls who were interviewed by the TISS team.
Then, what happened in the real-life Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Case, Bihar?
In reality, the news in the electronic media was not broken by the information from the social audit report conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 2018 was leaked by several local newspapers from Muzaffarpur. Santosh Singh, a journalist working for Kashish News (renamed “Koshish News” in the film), covered the news for television, but unfortunately, it did not have any impact.
Subsequently, Nivedita Jha, a real-life activist, along with numerous women associated with Bihar Mahila Samaaj (the National Federation of Indian Women, NFIW), protested against the government’s negligence towards underage girls. As a result, the police initiated a slow investigation.
What is the fate of the criminals involved in these despicable crimes?
A month after the Bihar police took action based on the TISS report, the case gained significant attention. 11 individuals, including Brajesh Thakur, Dilip Kumar Verma (chairperson of the Muzaffarpur District Child Welfare Committee), Vikas Kumar (a member of the Child Welfare Committee), Ravi Roshan (a child protection officer), and Rosy Rani (assistant director of the child protection unit), were charged.
The said Balika Grih in Muzaffarpur, operated by the NGO Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, was among the 17 shelters that the report identified as a matter of “grave concern.” This particular shelter was under the management of local politician Brajesh Thakur. The kingpin Thakur, the main defendant in the case, was found guilty on various charges including rape, gangrape (Section 376(d), IPC), criminal conspiracy, aggravated sexual assault under Section 6 of the POCSO Act, and offences under the Juvenile Justice Act.
Please note that the CBI investigations and the court cases into these crime incidents are still continuing as of now.
Also, what is the fate of the girl children rescued from the said shelter homes?
Allow us to quote the latest newspaper report on the same.
Featured Image and Poster of the Bhakshak (2024) Film | Pics. Credit:- Netflix.