In ‘Bhakshak,’ the audience becomes witness to a criminal story and one ordinary woman’s dogged attempts to save the lives of numerous young girls by bringing their abuser to justice. The film follows a nightmarish Children’s Shelter Home in Munawwarpur, Bihar, where the man in charge, Bansi Sahu, routinely abuses the young girls in a myriad of ways, including gross sexual violence. However, his well-made connections keep him protected from repercussions until his Shelter’s Audit report ends up in the hands of a small-scale journalist, Vaishali Singh.
As a result, Vaishali embarks on a hunt against the man, putting her own life at risk to ensure the girls at Sahu’s abusive shelter can have a chance at theirs. The story charts an eye-opening narrative about the realities of human trafficking and its adversity. For the same reason, many people must be curious to know if the town that becomes the background to the film’s story, Munawwarpur, is a real place.
Bakshak’s Munawarpur and The Real-Life Muzaffarpur
Munawwarpur, depicted in ‘Bhakshak’ as a town in Bihar, is not an actual city. Although a village with the same name remains in Uttar Pradesh, it presents a much different picture than the film’s central city. As such, we can conclude that ‘Bakshak’s’ Munawwarpur is a fictionalized town crafted to present a realistic environment without invoking a real-life place.
However, Munawwarpur holds some similarities with an actual Bihari town, Muzaffarpur, where the real-life Shelter Home Rape case unfolded. Although no official confirmation has been made about the connection between ‘Bhakshak’s’ true story-inspired fictionalized account and Muzaffarpur’s real crime, an evident connection remains between the two.
Much like the film’s Munawwarpur, Muzaffarpur also witnessed an outrageous misconduct of authority and humanity. In 2018, a Tata Institute of Social Sciences audit report led to the arrest of multiple people, with Brajesh Thakur as the prime accused, for rape and sexual violence of numerous girls at their NGO-run “Balika Grih.” Thus, in terms of criminal resemblance, Munawwarpur seems to have taken some inspiration from the real-life Muzaffarpur in Bihar, to maintain a sense of realism.
Furthermore, Munawwarpur’s setting in Bihar presents another significant real-life parallel as it showcases the scope of the human trafficking issue that lies within the state. Even though human trafficking is a worldwide problem, Bihar seems to be particularly prone to crime. According to reports by The Hindu, between 2016 and 2022, Bihar, alongside Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, came out as one of the top three Indian states with the maximum number of trafficked children.
Likewise, the National Crime Records Bureau shared that in 2021, 111 human trafficking cases were reported in Bihar. Thus, the fictional town, Munawwarpur’s setting in Bihar, strengthens its ties to reality by highlighting a prevalent problem within India.