Bhonsle (film)

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Bhonsle (film) poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byDevashish Makhija
Produced byManoj Bajpayee
Piiyush Singh
Abhayanand Singh
Saurabh Gupta
Sandiip Kapoor
Written byDevashish Makhija
Mirat Trivedi
Sharanya Rajgopal
StarringManoj Bajpayee
Santosh Juvekar
Music byMangesh Dhakde
CinematographyJigmet Wangchuk
Edited byShweta Venkat Mathew
Distributed bySony LIV
Release date
  • 5 October 2018 (2018-10-05) (Busan)
  • 26 June 2020 (2020-06-26) (India)
Running time
128 minutes

Bhonsle is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language drama film written and directed by Devashish Makhija. The film stars Manoj Bajpayee, who co-produced the film alongside Piiyush Singh[1], in the title role of a retired Mumbai police officer who befriends a North Indian girl and her brother when the local politicians are trying to get rid of the migrants. Its first look was launched at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

Bhonsle was premiered in the 'A Window on Asian Cinema' section of the 2018 Busan International Film Festival and was also screened in the non-competitive India Story section at the MAMI Film Festival, the 2018 Dharamshala International Film Festival, the 2019 International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Bengaluru International Film Festival and the Singapore South Asian film festival.[3][4][5][6][7][8] It won the Best Screenplay and Best Director Award at the Asian Film Festival Barcelona.[9] It was released on Sony LIV on 26 June 2020.[10]


Bhosale is a constable working with Mumbai police. The film starts with his retirement day where he submits his uniform and insignia to his department. The film also draws parallels to the Ganesh Chaturthi, a regional festival, where the idol is prepared for 10 days of festivities as Bhosale is preparing for his post-retirement life. As he leaves, he meets his senior who promises him that he would actively follow-up with his senior for extension of his service. As he returns to a small dilapidated chawl where he lives in seclusion. Once in a while, he meets his senior to enquire about his extension.

Vilas, a taxi driver who is agitated by the migrants from North India taking away local jobs. Vilas lives in his taxi and is a foot soldier for a local political party that asserts the local identity. He is constantly in a tiff with Rajendra who wants to lead North Indian migrants however, is usually on the receiving end because Vilas has greater influence due to his local connections. The main job of Vilas is to network and unite influential locals to assert their identity. He uses occasions like Ganesh Festival to mobilize his cadre usually kids. He tries to rope in Bhosale who is well respected in his circle, but Bhosale is not interested in his agenda and always keeps away from his sinister plans. One day a young girl Sita and her teenage brother Lalu settle in the house next door to Bhosale. She tries to introduce herself to Bhosale, but he is indifferent. Later Rajendra tries to induct Lalu into his gang but Lalu tries to stay away from them.

One day, when Sita is gone for the night shift, Rajendra tricks Lalu in blackening the board of Vilas' party. Everyone runs away as they see Bhosale going for a walk. Next day Vilas makes a huge issue of this incident & Lalu is scared of the consequences. He narrates the incident to his sister and she thinks it is wise to inform Bhosale. Reluctantly they tell him about the incident. Bhosale brushes it off and tells them he would report to police if it happens next time.

After a few days on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, there is a grand procession of Lord Ganesh and everyone in the Chawl is attending it. Bhosale collapses in his room because of his fading health and Lalu informs everyone. His neighbors take him to the hospital where Sita works. She nurses him to health and he is discharged after his medical tests are over. As Sita completes her formalities, the hospital gives him a discount assuming he is a family member of Sita. This incident changes Bhosale and he forms a bond with Sita & Lalu. He helps Lalu repaint the defaced wall. Later Sita receives reports of Bhosale and he has a terminal brain tumor. She reluctantly hands him the reports. Coincidently, Vilas also gets paint and he decides that they would paint the board the next day. Bhosale and Lalu paint the board at night so that no one would know about it. The next day, Vilas takes the credit of the job and berates Lalu when he claims that he has painted the board. Bhosale intervenes and exposes his lie and Vilas is deeply humiliated because he feels that Bhosale should have taken his side rather than the migrants.

Later his senior informs him that he would get service extension post his health check-up and Bhosale is shattered with this news. As Sita is returning home just before the dawn Vilas kidnaps and rapes her to vent his anger. In the morning when Bhosale visits her he is sad & agitated to see her state where she is badly bruised. Angry, he seeks Vilas. He sees bloodstains in his taxi and is convinced that Vilas has committed this crime. There is a scuffle between them which leaves both of them in a fatal state, which also marks the last day of Ganesh Festival where the idol is sunk in the ocean.


  • Manoj Bajpayee as Ganpath Bhonsle
  • Santosh Juvekar as Vilas
  • Ipshita Chakraborty Singh as Sita
  • Virat Vaibhav as Lalu
  • Abhishek Banerjee aa Rajendra
  • Rajendra Sisadkar as Talpade
  • Kailash Waghmare as Sawant
  • Shrikant Yadav as Mhatre
  • Neetu Pande as Mrs. Jha


Makhija started writing the script of Bhonsle in 2011 and completed it in 2015 but could not find the producers. In 2016, Makhija directed an 11-minute short film titled Taandav starring Manoj Bajpayee, about a head constable who breaks out into a dance to deal with the strains of his life.[4] Bajpayee had suggested him to make a short "to prove that they could carry off the idea."[4] Makhija said that he made the short because he was not able to make Bhonsle. He said that the purpose of the short was to "show the world that a film about a havaldar (constable) could be interesting."[4] Makhija took inspiration for Bhonsale's mannerisms from his father who had become "something else" after Makhija left for Mumbai from his hometown Kolkata.[4] The script was selected by the National Film Development Corporation of India for their event, Film Bazaar in 2016.[11]

The film's principal photography began on 21 October 2017. The Ganpati festival scene was shot for two days in Mumbai in August that forms a backdrop in the film.[12] For the pullout shot on the day of the Ganpati immersion, Bajpayee was placed in the crowd of 70,000 people. The scene took six retakes to complete and throughout the shoot no one recognised Bajpayee.[4] The filming was completed in late December, 2017.[13] Several scenes were shot in closed narrow spaces as Makhija wanted to "create a sense of suffocation."[4]


Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter praised Bajpayee's performance in the film and said that his "hermit retiree emerges as a quiet-spoken hero who opposes the racist hate-mongering around him with cool disdain." She felt that the film "builds tension well as it goes along", but called its first half "punishing".[14] Anupam Kant Verma of Firstpost wrote: "To Makhija’s peculiar blend of technical proficiency and poetic beats, Bajpayee brings the gravitas and masterful restraint that tugs at the kite of the director’s imagination the moment it threatens to pull away, in effect, harmonising the film experience."[15] J. Hurtado of Screen Anarchy wrote: "It's an exceptional film bolstered by a nearly silent performance from Manoj Bajpayee, one of India's finest actors, who also stepped in to produce the film when things were looking dire during production." He also included it in his list of 14 Favorite Indian Films of 2018.[16][17]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2019 Asia Pacific Screen Awards UNESCO Award Bhonsle Nominated
Best Actor Manoj Bajpayee Won


  1. ^ "After Amitabh Bachchan and Dhanush, Producer Piiyush Singh Is Bringing a Film 'Bhonsle' With Manoj Bajpayee". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Cannes Film Festival 2018: Manoj Bajpayee returns to French Riviera with Devashish Makhija' political drama Bhonsle". Firstpost. 12 May 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Manoj Bajpayee's Bhonsle to be premiered at Busan International Film Festival 2018". India TV. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Ramnath, Nandini (26 September 2018). "In 'Bhonsle', Manoj Bajpayee's Mumbai constable has something to say on the insider-outsider debate". Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  5. ^ Khan, Murtaza Ali Khan (8 November 2018). "I like proving people wrong: Manoj Bajpayee". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Bhonsle's outing at Rotterdam film fest". The New Indian Express. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  7. ^ "BIFFes 2019: Chat with Debashish Makhija of 'Bhonsle'". Deccan Herald. 27 February 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Selected For 3rd Singapore South Asian International Film Festival 2019". SpotboyE. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Manoj Bajpayee's Bhonsle wins big at Barcelona fest". Outlook. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  10. ^ 19 June 2020 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Laghate, Gaurav (10 November 2016). "'s 'Bhonsle' starring Manoj Bajpayee selected by NFDC for Film Bazaar". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  12. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (13 October 2017). "Busan: Helmer Devashish Makhija set for "Bhonsle" (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Manoj Bajpayee wraps up Devashish Makhija's Bhonsle in Mumbai". Hindustan Times. 29 December 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  14. ^ Young, Deborah (28 October 2018). "'Bhonsle': Film Review: Mumbai 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  15. ^ Verma, Anupam Kant (5 November 2018). "Bhonsle movie review: Devashish Makhija's fascinating character study is enriched by Manoj Bajpayee's performance". Firstpost. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  16. ^ Hurtado, J (3 January 2018). "J Hurtado's 14 Favorite Indian Films of 2018". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Bhonsle: Manoj Bajhpayee Joins Ipshita Chakraborty Singh, Santosh Juvekar Stream Online On Sony Liv". Moviespie. 28 June 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.

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