Bulbbul Movie Review : Anushka Sharma’s Bulbbul is a strange take on feminism, a MUST WATCH

Movie: Bulbbul
Cast: Rahul Bose, Tripti Dimri, Avinash Tiwary, Paoli Dam
Director: Anvita Dutt
Rated: Four stars

If you feel that Bollywood horror stories involve a demonic figure with long hair, waiting to kill the hero when the clock strikes at 12, then the new-age directors are here to change your perception about what ‘ghost-stories’ actually mean. Bulbbul, an unsettling, horror flick, produced under the banner of Anushka Sharma’s and brother Karnesh’s Clean Slate Films, is a story which doesn’t attempt to give you jump-scares but rather gives you disturbing thoughts of women’s sufferings in a patriarchal society which is prevailing from centuries.

Set in the backdrop of Bengal province of 1881, the eerie, mystic looking setting is a good reminder that though the locations are beautiful, with wild greenery stretched into scenes, this movie is not here to treat you, but to make you think. The movie opens with the wedding of Bulbbul, a small girl who asks innocent questions which challenges stereotypical thinking that this society once had and maybe still has, and her pure hearted soul makes us bypass the idea of evil practices happening in front of our eyes. Child marriage, a social evil, was a normal scenario back then, and in this we are also introduced to a boy named Satya, who lures Bullbul in narrating Chudail(female demon) stories on the wedding night.

The story takes a leap of 20 years and in this time, Bulbbul turns into a gorgeous but oddly detached woman, who thinks too much and expresses less. That makes her look more dangerous at times. Satya returns to the village after completing his studies from London and on his return he gets to know that some demonic possession is eating people in the village. Then as a Sherlock, he dons the hat and a shotgun, to hunt down the person/animal behind this activity because he tends not to believe in any superstitious thing.

Bullbul is director Anvita Dutt’s debutorial movie, and she marks her presence by combining various genres and society’s evil practices and perceptions against women into 1 hr 33 mins. This movie comes under fantasy, folklore, fable, orthodox, superstitious, mythology, historical, which doesn’t stop to explore only the spookiness by blending red flashes into the screen but rather takes us through an emotional journey which gets to the core of our soul.

The screen bathes in the red color most of the time, unlike what we have watched in Indian horror flicks, which mostly dips into black to make us believe that this is going to be horrific. The red splashes mixed gold is used as symbolism to compare the red wedding dress and sindoor of a woman who then bleeds on her wedding night and how over the years her sufferings goes silently into the long lost river, and she ultimately takes her sorrow to the other land to start a journey all over again.

Bullbul played by Tripti Dimri looks splendid on screen. Her innocent face with a dangerous smile, gives us chills and her gorgeousness on the screen takes us by surprise. She is vulnerable and emotionally broken at times, which gives us the illusion of who’s who. Avinash Tiwari in the role of Satya, is at times complicated. Watching him transform from a movie like Laila Majnu to a horror flick is amazing and he makes us believe in Satya who is also a victim of patriarchal society. Rahul Bose has given small screen time but his mere presence and deadly aggressive looks is a story in itself. Paoli Dam as Chotti Bahu and Parambrata Chattopadhyay as doctor, fits well in their roles and don’t leave any space to pick negative points.

 

uAmit Trivedi’s music blended with Siddharth Diwan’s frames is the perfect match for a movie like Bullbul. We wish to see more of Bengal’s provinces to be explored in Bollywood movies, which now have taken heavy shifts on exotic locations and the northern side of India.

Bulbbul is one of those rare contemporary Hindi horror flicks which unlike Bhoot or Daayan – is scary but not because it has demonic creatures with loads of prosthetic that can give us nightmares but rather because of the circumstances that the protagonist faces in the movie, which gives us goosebumps and into deep thinking of how this creature came into existence. Because at last the question is ‘how’ and ‘why’!

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