With director Pulkit at the helm, ‘Bhakshak’ narrates a harrowing true story of children in a government-funded shelter facing abuse by politicians, and one woman’s lonely quest to bring them to justice. Vaishali Singh, a young journalist, discovers the despicable practices of strong-man politicians taking place in an orphanage. Despite preparing a detailed report and submitting it to the authorities, no actions are taken against them.
Vaishali realizes that the bureaucratic system is rife with corruption and takes orders from the politicians. She then turns to her greatest weapon as a journalist: the people. The Netflix film navigates themes of corruption, justice, and social responsibility. There are a select few other movies like ‘Bhakshak,’ which enthrall us with their thrilling narratives, sending a strong message of the triumph of good over evil.
8. Dirty Pretty Things (2002)
Under the direction of Stephen Frears, ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ explores the hidden underbelly of London’s illegal immigrant community and the inhumane treatment they endure. The film follows the experiences of Okwe and Senay, immigrants working at a seedy hotel that runs an organ trafficking business. They feel compelled to uncover the truth and confront the perpetrators but feel helpless given their own struggle to survive in a foreign land.
They are forced to make difficult choices and confront the harsh realities of exploitation and survival in a world that often overlooks their humanity. Much like ‘Bhakshak,’ ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ is a gripping and poignant film that sheds light on the injustices faced by powerless, marginalized communities, and a few individuals’ struggle against them.
7. Love Sonia (2018)
‘Love Sonia,’ helmed by Tabrez Noorani, is a harrowing and powerful drama that exposes the dark realities of human trafficking and exploitation. The film revolves around Sonia, a young village girl from India, who is unwittingly drawn into the world of sex trafficking when her father sells her to a local landlord in exchange for money. Determined to rescue her sister, Preeti, who was also sold into prostitution, Sonia embarks on a dangerous journey that takes her from her rural village to the bustling streets of Mumbai and eventually to the brutal underworld of sex trafficking in Hong Kong.
Along the way, Sonia encounters a diverse cast of characters, including prostitutes, traffickers, and activists, who shape her understanding of the world and her own strength and resilience. Like ‘Bhakshak,’ ‘Love Sonia’ is based on true events and presents a thought-provoking story, shedding light on the plight of victims of human trafficking.
6. Michael Clayton (2007)
A Tony Gilroy directorial, ‘Michael Clayton,’ delves into the murky world of corporate corruption and moral ambiguity. The film follows the titular character, Michael Clayton (George Clooney), a fixer at a prestigious law firm who specializes in handling delicate situations and cleaning up messes for the firm’s wealthy clients. However, when one of the firm’s top attorneys suffers a mental breakdown and threatens to expose a major corporate scandal, Clayton finds himself embroiled in a high-stakes conspiracy that puts his own life in danger.
As he faces a web of deceit and manipulation, Clayton must confront his own ethical dilemmas and decide where his loyalties truly lie. For those who liked the exploration of morality in ‘Bhakshak,’ ‘Michael Clayton’ offers a compelling insight into it, along with discussions of the often blurred lines between right and wrong in the world of corporate law.
5. Mardaani (2014)
With Pradeep Sarkar at the helm, ‘Mardaani’ follows a maverick policewoman in her fight against human trafficking in India. Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukerji) is a fearless and dedicated police officer, who is determined to combat the rampant exploitation of women and girls in the city of Mumbai. When a teenage girl goes missing, Shivani embarks on a relentless pursuit to track down the perpetrators behind the trafficking ring responsible for her disappearance.
As she delves deeper into the investigation, Shivani confronts dangerous criminals and faces numerous challenges, including corruption and resistance from powerful individuals. Similar to ‘Bhakshak,’ ‘Mardaani’ features a brave heroine with unwavering determination and a strong sense of justice, fighting against powerful individuals involved in child trafficking and exploitation.
4. The Whistleblower (2010)
‘The Whistleblower,’ directed by Larysa Kondracki, is a gripping thriller based on true events. The film centers around Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska police officer (Rachel Weisz), who becomes a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. Initially, Kathryn sees the job as an opportunity for a well-paid career move. However, she soon uncovers a network of corruption and human trafficking involving members of the United Nations and local authorities.
Shocked and outraged by the extent of the abuse, Kathryn risks her own safety to expose the truth, despite facing resistance and threats from powerful individuals. Much like Vaishali from ‘Bhakshak,’ Kathryn has the odds stacked against her with her organization undercutting her efforts at every turn. Both protagonists are determined to seek justice for the victims and hold those responsible accountable for their crimes.
3. Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai (2023)
Directed by Apoorv Singh Karki, this Indian legal thriller revolves around Advocate Solanki (Manoj Bajpayee) and his pursuit of justice against a powerful religious baba involved in the sexual abuse of young girls. Solanki takes up the victims’ case and mercilessly cuts down the opposition’s arguments at every turn. Solanki realizes the danger he is putting himself in but is prepared to fight tooth and nail to ensure that the baba faces the strictest punishment.
Manoj Bajpayee’s performance brings the charismatic personality of Solanki to life, sprinkling in scathing humor alongside his arguments in court. Both ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ and ‘Bhakshak’ feature protagonists who rely upon truth and righteousness as their sources of strength to face insurmountable odds, and deliver justice to girls abused by those who think themselves above the law.
2. No One Killed Jessica (2011)
‘No One Killed Jessica,’ under the direction of Raj Kumar Gupta, is a riveting crime thriller based on the real-life murder case of Jessica Lal, a model who was shot dead at a party in Delhi in 1999. The film follows the relentless quest for justice by Jessica’s sister, Sabrina Lal, and Meera Gaity, a fearless journalist (Rani Mukerji). Despite overwhelming evidence and eyewitness testimony, the accused, a wealthy and influential man, is acquitted by the court due to manipulation and corruption. Determined to hold the perpetrators accountable and fight against systemic injustice, Sabrina and Meera launch a grassroots campaign to bring public attention to the case and pressure the authorities to reopen the investigation.
Comparable to Vaishali’s plight in ‘Bhakshak,’ Sabrina and Meera are unable to muster support from anyone due to the fear of repercussions from a powerful man. Thus they resort to using the media and public pressure to force the corrupt maze of bureaucracy to act. Both films chronicle poignant and powerful accounts that highlight the importance of perseverance and the fight against injustice.
1. Spotlight (2015)
With Tom McCarthy in the director’s chair, ‘Spotlight’ chronicles the true story of the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team, known as Spotlight, as they uncover widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. The film follows the team, led by editor Walter Robinson(Michael Keaton) as they tirelessly pursue leads and interview victims to expose the decades-long cover-up by the Church hierarchy.
As the investigation deepens, the team confronts institutional resistance, personal conflicts, and ethical dilemmas. If you liked the investigative journalism targetting a dire social issue in ‘Bhakshak,’ ‘Spotlight’ will grip you with its narrative of holding powerful institutions accountable. Both films showcase true stories and a few individual’s unwavering commitment to the truth against all odds.