I grew up listening to folklore, cautionary tales and fairytales. So, when I saw the trailer of Bulbbul, I was excited. Bulbbul narrates the story of the everyday horrors, both physical and mental, that women in our country have gone through for over centuries now. It shows how society has caged them in destiny and situations, and how they accept what life and the community throws at them.
Set in 1881 Bengal, this is a story of a girl named Bulbbul who is married off at a very young age to a much older man named Indranil. The young girl develops a strong friendship with his brother, Satya, who is of her age. Indranil also has a mentally-abled twin brother, Mahendra, who is married to the sharp-witted yet insecure, Binodini. Cut to twenty years later, we see a grown-up Satya coming back home after studying abroad, only to find out that everything has changed. Bulbbul’s bubbly nature has been replaced by a hard heart and resolve as she dominates over the haveli in the absence of any male in the family. But not without being reminded of her womanhood at all times. The story develops as a series of murders envelope the village, with the villagers believing that it’s the work of the chudail.
Anvita Dutt, the writer and director of the film, talks less about the actual horror stories and more about the horrific realities that give birth to such stories. The film, shot by Siddharth Diwan, is visually gorgeous, with each shot looking like an old, beautiful painting. Production designer, Meenal Agarwal has done a fantastic job to set the eerie atmosphere effectively. Every frame in the film appeared like a Raja Ravi Varma painting.
Talking about the cast, the makers have chosen a fantastic group of artists who have delivered some lovely performances. Tripti Dimri as Bulbbul effortlessly transitions from being a vulnerable girl to a woman who commands power and strength. It is nice to see the actress reunite with her Laila Majnu co-star, Avinash Tiwary, who played the role of Satya with such sincerity. The actor has emerged as one of the promising talents in today’s time. Parambrata Chatterjee as a local doctor and Paoli Dam as Binodini were both ridiculously good! And what do I even say about Rahul Bose? He is known for delivering strong performances, and this one is no different.
Bulbbul is definitely a compelling watch and showcases important issues like child marriage, female oppression and ill-treatment of widows amidst the well-crafted horror tale. Anushka and Karnesh Sharma‘s Clean Slate Filmz have been giving us back to back unique and different content and I am looking forward to more such interesting stuff!