Bulbbul- a fable of the enigmatic or just another cinematic horror
With an impeccable cast and spot on direction, Bulbbul takes it’s viewers to a fairyland with not so pretty fairies. Directed by Anvita Dutt, Produced by Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Sharma. Starring Tripti Dimri, Avinash Tiwari, Paoli Dam, Rahul Bose and Parambrata Chattopadhyay. It is running successfully on Netflix. It is set in the year 1881 in Bengal, during British Rule in India. The film commences with a 5 year old jaunty girl Bulbbul, getting married to a generation older man named Indranil. The alliance shows the then practiced child marriage prevalent in India and from there takes over to the feminist plot of the movie.
The child bride with an inclination to horror stories finds herself bonding with the youngest brother of Indranil, Satya, being of the same age. Mahendra, the twin brother of Indranil who is married to Binodini, is an intellectually challenged man. He finds a special interest in Bulbbul. The story jumps to 20 years later, where Bulbbul is personified differently. She is now the elder thakurain, taking up the matters of Haveli in her hands. Binodini is shown a window and Satya comes back from London after completing his studies. Indranil is shown to have left the Haveli long back. The story unfolds a series of killings in the area all linked to the presence of a Chudail, as claimed by the locals.
Bulbbul, the Gothic tale, is running between flashback of events, closely keeping the viewers engrossed in what went on in the Haveli.
The horror of a young girl married to a decades older man, her agony of losing her childhood and her only confidant Satya, who she grew up with, made her world around. Binodini, her sister-in law is depicted the sly deceptive woman, who fills Indranil with venom of the relationship of Bulbbul and Satya. Indranil in a fit, sends Satya to London for further studies. This shatters Bulbbul and she burns the diary She and Satya wrote in. Indranil, in rage thrash her feet within an inch of her life. The barbarism of the moment is depicted in the most profound way. The thrust of stick on Bulbbul, her cry for help, all in slow motion and on mute was the blood curdling direction indeed to get through our heart. It is the cornerstone which shapes the further moments of the drama.
Indranil, leaves after this to a place unknown promising Binodini that he will keep sending money enough for everyone’s expenses. After suffering injuries, she is being treated by a doctor who later becomes her friend. These flashbacks unfirl with the present story of Satya stiil donning the Sherlock hat to find the accused behind all the murders, having a strong suspicion towards the doctor, Sudip. When confronting Bulbbul to having a relationship with Dr. Sudip by Satya, Bulbbul goes back in time of her rape by Mahendra. The rape that changed her and made who she was now. The indifference of Binodini towards her to keep herself shut about what happened. The moment she transforms to what the movie is about. A feminist supernatural drama unfolding a woman’s plight inside the four walls.
The metamorphose of the vibrant Bulbbul to a Chudail is shown painstakingly with mist covering the entire Haveli and coming her back to a life, but a life of another form. She is potrayed as the epitome of Kali Maa who kills men who abuse women.
The portrayal of Bulbbul in the entire movies is such that it outshines other characters so much so that viewers find them loosely written. What encapsulates throughout is the way the red mist floats in the forest and how director Anvika Dutt has used to create the gothic image. Skipping the horror, which is almost not present in the movie, it is an artistic definition of feminism. The subjugation of women since ages and the prevalent patriarchy.
All the actors have been true to their character, although they could have been explored more. The protagonist Tripti Dimri has done a classic work as Bulbbul, with beautiful and polished performance. What is even more realist in the movie is how it does not show the “Chudail” to be flying and scaring people like the typical horror or psychological film. Rather if comes out to be just the apt manner in dealing with character portrayal.
Anshuka Sharma has given yet another sublime drama after Patak lok. Her work as a producer in bringing amazing actors to work has been appreciated since her last hit, not to mention NH10.