Team Bhediya: Based on Arunachal Pradesh legend, Bhediya not some Western myth

Varun Dhawan, Amar Kaushik, and Dinesh Vijan remind all that the wolf man legend is also part of an Indian folklore Yapum from our North-Eastern state.

L-R: Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Dinesh Vijan and Amar Kaushik at Bhediya [2022] trailer launch in Mumbai, 19 October.

By Mayur Lookhar

From the time the film was announced, Bhediya [2022] was touted as India’s answer to the Wolf Man, Werewolf tales of the West. If we look into history though, the mythology has it early roots in ancient Mesopotamia’s ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’, and the Lycaon wolf from Greek mythology. In pop culture, it was Hollywood which first tapped such mythology with the 1940 film The Wolf Man. This triggered a wave of such films over many decades. It is now perceived that the Wolf Man myth is an American creation.

Indian films of the yore have made similar attempts that sadly ended up being poor clones. Don’t Indian filmmakers have to ensure that such films don’t end up as another bhedchaal [mob mentality] attempt? We posed this question to director Amar Kaushik, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon at the Bhediya trailer launch in Mumbai on 19 October.

“One of the things that convinced me about this was when we were shooting in a village called Zero in Arunachal Pradesh, they [villagers] have a folklore about Yapum,’ replied Dhawan before passing the baton to director Amar Kaushik.

The director had this to say, “Look, we, have such stories too. You’ll know when you see the film. When [writer] Niren Bhatt and I went to do a recce there [Arunachal Pradesh], we just had a base story. When we spoke to the locals, they revealed more on such tales. I will not be able to talk about it before the release. But when we heard them, it felt like as a story that belongs to our land. They have the folklore Yapum which we have incorporated in our film too.”

Kaushik was a little cautions, but producer Dinesh Vijan of Maddock Films was pretty firm in assuring all that his film is based on an Arunachal Pradeshi legend.

“Let me give you an analogy. We have forgotten what our culture is. Kohinoor [diamond] was ours, but it went out. Lot of stuff from us has gone out, we have forgotten about it. We constantly look at the West and said it was there. This [Yapum] is a completely Indian legend from Arunachal Pradesh,” explained Vijan.

“Our country is so diverse with so many cultures and we have more stories than anywhere. What we [Maddock Films] have tried to do in the last seven years is to bring out such stories. We can’t say much but when you watch the film, it is 100 % Indian in its origin,” affirmed Vijan.

Bhediya [2022] is set to be released on 25 November.

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