Bhaskar the Bhediya vs Jacob the Werewolf

A spot-the-difference between the titular Bhediya and Twilight’s Jacob
Bhaskar the Bhediya vs Jacob the Werewolf

The world of overseer Bhaskar (Varun Dhawan) who goes to Arunachal Pradesh and gets bitten by a werewolf should not collide with that of Twilight, the blockbuster film franchise based on the bestselling book series. In the horror comedy universe of Bhediya, the animalistic is analogous to the monstrous (until the last half hour of the film) and Bhaskar has few of the trappings of the conventional werewolf from Western pop culture, most memorably epitomised by Jacob (Taylor Lautner) in the Twilight series. Infamous for his cringeworthy dialogues (remember “Where the hell have you been, Loca?”), Jacob is one-third of Twilight’s angsty love triangle. He’s in love with Bella Swan until she has a daughter, Renesmee. Then he’s obsessed with her. Initially, only a device for Bella to uncover Edward’s secret, Jacob is the “favourite gift” that New Moon gave to writer Stephenie Meyer. Bhaskar, on the other hand, is the hero of Bhediya and there’s a lot more to him than his man-to-wolf transformation.

As supernatural creatures go, werewolves represent the primal, feral nature of man and in both Twilight and Bhediya, werewolves bridge the gap between man and nature. Jacob is born with it; Bhaskar is bitten into it — and perhaps that makes all the difference. If Jacob and Bhaskar were to face off, my guess is the former would emerge triumphant. For all the screen time given to Bhaskar’s shift, the bhediya (wolf) is rather scrawny in comparison to Jacob, who is the largest and most powerful in his pack. Also, Bhaskar’s salt and pepper and Jacob’s auburn manes look like the before-and-after transformation for a henna treatment.

While Bhaskar is a very different animal from Jacob, both men tear apart more clothes than they do prey. Every transformation calls for shredded garments and cracking bones. While Jacob can shapeshift on a whim (even when he’s airborne), Bhaskar needs a full moon to coax the animal out of him. At one point, his lunar ritual is compared to Karva Chauth, a fast which is only broken after seeing the full moon. His first transformation is shown in careful detail, with practically every body part being reconfigured on screen. Later, the process remains detailed, if less drawn out. In contrast, Jacob’s shift is all about swiftness, like the flipping of a thaumatrope — one moment he’s human, the next he’s a wolf.

In Bhediya, Bhaskar can sniff out a dead rabbit from miles away and listen in on conversations around town. His werewolf tears through the forest and shares a visceral relationship with the wilderness. Jacob has the same characteristics, but what sets the two apart is their body temperature. Jacob is around 108 °F of washboard abs and arms ripped enough to lift a dirt bike out of a truck. Bollywood’s bhediya isn’t “his own sun” (read: Bella Swan, New Moon, 2009), but he is more than capable of hoisting beds and friends with his brute strength.

It’s challenging to assign a winner in this supernatural contest. One might be the better werewolf, but the other emerges a better man. Jacob might fit into and even determine, in ways, who the quintessential werewolf is, but he’s also the man who ‘imprints’ on a newborn. Sadly, grooming can have more meanings than one even in a werewolf movie. Bhaskar might be a scaredy cat of a wolf, but the man he becomes is humbler, more empathetic, and considerably less greedy (now that the forest is his home, of course, he’d want to build a road around it than through it.) If the former’s wolf and the latter’s human could make one individual, maybe we wouldn’t have to choose.

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