Bulbbul is a horror film written and directed by Anvita Dutt. The movie stars Tripti Dimri, Avinash Tiwary, Paoli Dam, Rahul Bose and Parambrata Chattopadhyay.
The trailer of the movie created a lot of suspense amongst people. The gorgeous Tripti, along with the red-washed scenes with a woman flying over it was enough to get everyone excited. But, Bulbbul is far from what people probably expected.
Bulbbul starts off with child marriage. A young bride is married into a zamindar family to the eldest son. She shares her huge palace with her husband, his two brothers and a sister-in-law. The movie doesn’t start till 20 years later when the youngest brother, Satya, who was Bulbbul’s confidant at one point, comes back from London. There’s been a lot of strange killings and a chudail has been blamed for it. Satya now goes on a hunt to find the source of the killings.
Bulbbul is not your traditional horror movie. Unlike Betaal, this one doesn’t portray the horrors that lie outside of one’s home. The horror here is much deeper, and something that women have been subjected to since the beginning of time. The horror in Bulbbul hits right at home. So, if you’re expecting a movie containing jump scares and grotesque faces, then you will be disappointed.
A woman married to a man before she outgrew her playing age, who is then subjected to brutal torture at the hands of her family members for something trivial and then her standing up for herself and others who are unable to do so themselves – that’s the story of Bulbbul. I can’t even begin to describe how much this movie affected me. I wasn’t scared of the “chudail”. Rather, she seemed like a welcome change in an environment and society that benefits from the despair of women.
In ways, Bulbbul is similar to producer Anushka Sharma’s previous venture Pari and Amar Kaushik’s Stree. Additionally, Amit Trivedi’s background music seeps sadness into the story and keeps the mood melancholy throughout. It’s like Lootera. The music is stunning and portrays a story in itself. So is the set – the red-washed night-time scenes or the bright morning scenes – it’s stunning. It adds beauty and dread to Bulbbul and takes it a step ahead.
How many times have women heard this in their lifetimes? Whenever something has happened, whenever women have been subjected to heinous torture at the hands of society, they have been asked to keep quiet. The scene where this line was told is heartbreaking, along with the scene that comes before it. Although the story takes time to unfurl, when it does, it does so with a force that blew me away. However, Bulbbul isn’t a fast-paced movie in any way. It’s slow and there’s a certain rhythm to it that makes the above-mentioned scenes even more hard-hitting.
The saddest part about Bulbbul is probably her realisation that everyone in her family is the same. Everyone’s a brute and are one-step ahead to keep the patriarchal system firmly in place. Thus, when Satya also falls in that line, Bulbbul isn’t fazed. She sighs, but she, like us, knows that it was meant to be.
Tripti Dimri as Bulbbul is absolutely stunning. She’s everything that you would expect from an innocent girl whose life pushes her to turn bitter. Before the tragedy, she’s soft and demure and you can see the innocence in her eyes. Later on, she takes on the role of a hard-as-nails “badi babu” who takes no shit from anyone. She looks stunning and her acting is absolutely on-par.
So is Rahul Bose’s Indranil / Mahendra. It’s amazing how he can change from one character to another with so much ease. Rahul Bose is a really great actor, and his acting in this movie seriously added so much to it.
Then we have Paoli Dam’s Binodini. She’s married to someone who will never be able to give her what she wants. She’s quite the grey character, but she comes from a place of desperation herself. Life hasn’t been fair to her, and her fate is also very sad.
Summing up: Bulbbul
As said earlier, Bulbbul isn’t your traditional horror story. There are no ghosts coming out of closets to give you a jump. However, there are worse things in life than ghosts – and the film does justice to that notion. It’s heartbreaking and terrifying because you know this is the lived reality of so many women in the past, present and will continue to be in the future.
However, I do have a small problem with the ending. Although the movie doesn’t make a fuss to keep the cat in the bag, the entire end sequence was a bit too dramatic for my taste. It doesn’t seem to gel very well with the rest of the movie.
But anyway, it doesn’t really take away much from my positive experience with the movie. It’s a really good watch for people who are bored with traditional horror.
Bulbbul is streaming on Netflix right now.