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Bulbbul (Movie Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film

SUMMARY

When a man returns to his ancestral village many years later he finds his sibling's child bride all gown and mysterious deaths occurring in this Indian horror/mystery Netflix Original film.

Bulbbul (2020) has to do with Satya, coming back after five years to the family estate in Bengal Presidency, to realize that his sister in law and ex love has become the ruler of the village, which is burdened by the murders of men by a mystical creature also known as the Goddess.

Five year old Bulbbul gets married with Indranil, but feels closer to her brother in law, Satya, because of their young age. As years pass, and she becomes a teenager, the bond intensifies, causing Indranil’s jealousy. They are separated, but reunite five years later, when Indranil has abandoned the estate and his mentally ill brother Mahendra gets killed. The estate and the ruling of the village is on Bulbbul’s hands. Satya feels responsible for Bulbbul and tries to find the person who is responsible for the murders of the men at the forest, as he does not believe in supernatural element. Bulbbul on the other hand feels like he is exaggerating.
Concerning the plot, I wanted to highlight how much important is for the structure of the film the connection that is made between the flashback scenes, the dialogue during Bulbbul’s childhood and the reputation of the Goddess. The symbol of “tight toe-ring” that is repeated, which was said that “prevents the girls from flying” and the “need for control” are foreshadowing of the protagonist’s story. Also it is a film of high importance in relation to feminism, especially for a country like nineteenth century India, where the events supposedly occur, and for Bollywood per se.

CHARACTERS

  •  Bulbbul is a five year old girl that gets married to Indranil, the elder Lord of the estate, but because of her young age she spends a lot of time with her also young brother in law Satya. As a teenager she falls for him and when he is forced to go to London she feels devastated. Twenty years later she is presented as a powerful, mysterious and manipulative woman in charge of the estate, after being abandoned by Indranil.
  • Indranil is Bulbbul’s husband and the main Lord of the estate. He feels unnerved by her preference to his young brother and when he realizes she is in love with Satya he gets enraged and abandons the estate.
    Satya is Indranil’s young brother. He shares an intimate bond with Bulbbul as a kid, spending hours with her talking about witch stories. As a teenager he falls in love with her too, but he is sent by Indranil to study in London and after five years he comes back to the village again. Meanwhile, he tries to solve the mystery of some murders of men in the forest.
  • Mahendra is Indranil’s mentally ill brother, who seems to be attracted to Bulbbul, since she was a kid. He is creepy, but Indranil describes him as a child that needs supervision. He is married to Binodini. At present he is supposed to have been killed by the Goddess.
    Binodini is Mahendra’s wife. Somehow though she is jealous of Bulbbul and her marriage with Indranil. She tries to get his attention, she constantly mentions the bond between Bulbbul and Satya and gives Bulbbil wrong advice. At present she is not a part of the estate anymore, almost living marginalized.
  • Sudip is the doctor that used to take care of Bulbbul’s feet after a mysterious accident. He cares deeply for her and she is very flattered by him, evoking Satya’s jealousy.

ACTING

Triptii Dimri was enchanting as Bulbbul and I enjoyed her chemistry with Avinash Tiwary,playing Satya, who was also very convincing. Rahul Bose delivered a worth mentioning performance as both Indranil and Mahendra. Paoli Dam did a very good job at the role of Binodini. Parambrata Chattopadhyay was amazing as the doctor Sudip and he also shared an interesting chemistry with Triptii Dimri. Last but not least I would like to refer to the adorable acting of Ruchi Mahajan and Varun Buddhadev as young Bulbbul and young Satya respectively.

DIRECTION

The atmosphere was mysterious and imminent, conveying the possibility of something darker hiding in relation to Bulbbul’s personality and the situation at the estate. At the scenes, when the presence of the Goddess is evident, direction is full of suspense, which has more the characteristics of a dark fairytale, than the ones of a horror film. The combination of Bulbbul’s mysterious personality, the Goddess scenes and the flashbacks from the past make the movie very mystic and appealing.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

In terms of cinematography the film was captivating, firstly with the elements of the inate Indian aesthetic, like celebrations, clothing, jewelry, decoration, architecture and secondly with the witchlike element that is accompanied by the use of red color, during the scenes when the viewer is expecting or experiencing the presence of the Goddess.

END

Concerning the ending it did not really live up to my expectations, mostly because it is abrupt. Even though the viewer can predict what will happen, I would rather the story had a more concrete explanation about the fate of the Goddess.


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Bulbbul is streaming now on Netflix


  • Rating Certificate: TV-MA
  • Studios & Distributors: Clean Slate Films | Netflix
  • Country: India
  • Language: Hindi
  • Run Time: 94 Mins.
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
  • Director: Anvita Dutt
  • Written By: Anvita Dutt | Sayef Turan
  • Release Date: 24 June 2020
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