Movie name: Bulbbul (2020)
Cast: Avinash Tiwary, Tripti Dimri, Paoli Dam, Rahul Bose and Parambrata Chattopadhyay
Directors: Anvita Dutt
Producer: Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Sharma (Clean Slate Filmz)
Rating: 3.5 stars
As a grandparent, we might tell the stories about Avengers, nepotism and most probably COVID-19 to our grandkids, but our grandma's tales mostly revolved around witches, ghost and demons, living in the jungle. We all have grown up believing that the evil comes in the veil of the darkness, only to realize now that the true demon of the society lives with us, near us and within us. And's that's what Anushka Sharma's 'Bulbbul' is all about.
Set in the pre-independence background of Bengal Presidency, India in 1881, this supernatural tale highlights the social evils of the community we live in such as child marriage, gender violence and everything that is wrong patriarchy. It's a tale of a dove-eyed child bride 'Bulbbul', whose innocence and childhood gets brutally killed amid the walls of a huge ancestral mansion, by his husband and the patriarchal dominance of the family.
Bulbbul, the character played beautifully by Tripti Dimri, is a free-spirited girl who falls for the guy of her age, she thinks she was married, who later turns out to be her brother-in-law instead. Spending her childhood and adolescence, playing and listening to the witch stories by her brother-in-law Satya, played by Avinash Tiwary, she finds a companion in him, instead of her much older husband Indranil, portrayed by Rahul Bose.
Just like some of the classic and well-known stories of Bengal, the plot of Dutt's movie also revolves around the unsaid love, child-bride, a young widow, and some extramarital affairs happening inside the walls of a 'Big Haveli'. Still, Bulbbul manages to stand out because of its gripping story and the essence of feminism.
Anushka Sharma's Bulbbul, just like her movie Pari, takes a sly dig on the true evils and demons of the society that are hampering the human race. From a child being forcefully married to someone of her father's age to being beaten up and raped by the members of the family, these social devils in the form of a human are going to haunt your soul after watching the movie.
Avinash Tiwary and Tripti Dimri, who have enthralled the audiences previously with their performance in the Imtiaz Ali's Laila Majnu, managed to showcase the purest of the form of love, just with their smiles and the spark of their eyes. The way both Bulbbul and Satya cared about each other since childhood proves that you don't need a label to describe love, it can happen to anyone, anytime and at any age. Rahul Bose as Bulbbul's husband Indranil and Mahendra (twin brother of Indranil) has enlightened the screen with his quintessential acting skills. His portrayal of an older and brutal husband will surely make the audience get the feel of a male dominant society.
Apart from the Laila-Majnu Jodi Avinash and Tripti, the movie has some phenomenal actors such as Paoli Dam as Binodini and Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Sudip who has graced the film with their captivating screen presence. Just like Pari, Parambrata Chattopadhyay has emerged as a savior for the female protagonist in Bulbbul as well.
Cinematography and Background score
Clean Slate Filmz production Bulbbul shows that the real ghost of the movie is not some dead girl but the oppression and brutality inflicted on the women by the men of the society. Visually striking cinematography and the crimson red background of the movie will give you the scary feels, accompanied by the haunted score by the sound designers.
If you're watching this movie night, it's quite possible that the background tune will linger in your mind. (Friendly advice: Keep your lights on and try listening to something soothing before you go to bed.)
Takeaways from the Movie:
A story that has been built around the old grandma's tales of 'chudail and dayan', Bulbbul will bring you closer to the real issues that are faced by the women in our society. Though it's a period drama set in Kolkata in the 19th century, the movie raises a pertinent question of 'Are women safe in our society?' The strong-headed witch Bulbbul will inspire you to take stand for yourself and all the other women who have been wronged, preaching the true spirit of feminism.
Setbacks from the Movie:
Though the movie has some amazing stars such as Rahul Bose, Paoli Dam and others, their roles were restricted to the scripts, giving them very little space to add anything unique. Rahul Bose, who is one of the finest actors of the film industry has been given slightly less screen time whereas Pauli Dam as a wicked sister-in-law could have been presented in a better way.
The genre of the movie is Horror/Thriller yet the movie lacks the jump-scary moments and focuses more on the social message. Bulbbul yet again proved that Bollywood is far away from a decent horror movie, that can actually give you sleepless nights.
If you miss your grandmother's stories and want to live the tale of a revisioned fierce witch, who is basically the Robinhood of women who have suffered due to the male dominance and patriarchal norms, Netflix's Bulbbul might find a place in your heart. Breaking the shackles of brutality in the society where women are meant to be controlled (by making them wear a toe-ring apparently) and asked to keep quiet for the sake of her own benefits, this movie will teach you the how-to stand against the demons we as women, are surrounded with.
Watch the trailer of Bulbbul, here: