Scream Stream: Why Bulbbul is a groundbreaking feminist film with a perfect pinch of horror
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Scream Stream: Why Bulbbul is a groundbreaking feminist film with a perfect pinch of horror

Tripti Dimri shines as the beautiful witch in Anvita Dutt’s directorial debut film.

Sunidhi Prajapat
Oct 10, 2021
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Horror movies tend to be sold out when it’s super scary or based on a real story or combined with comedy. Meanwhile, here’s a horror film that raised an important issue very subtly and beautifully. Writer Anvita Dutt became a debutante director with the 2020 Netflix Original film Bulbbul and still, managed to leave people in awe with her storytelling. 

The film is based on supernatural events and is inspired by a few folk tales of the small towns in India. Bulbbul marked its place as an anti-fairytale and a powerful feminist film.

Set in the backdrop of the Bengal Presidency in the late 19th century, the film begins with the wedding of a six-year-old girl with a much older man. One of the scenes that brings forth the blind age-old practice comes initially in the film. It is in the moment when the child bride Bulbbul asks her aunt why she’s making her wearing a toe ring. To that, the aunt says that it will make Bulbbul fly. A second later, she realises the seriousness of the moment and tells her the truth - that a girl needs to wear it so that she can be in her limits.

The film showcases how a child bride grows up to be an innocent woman and finds a great friendship in her brother-in-law, who’s around her age. Later on, she becomes the most powerful and fearless woman. She has been a victim of rape and murder by the men inside her mansion. Yes, murder!

Tripti Dimri, playing the titular character, is the soul of the film, while Parambrata Chatterjee, portraying the role of a doctor, is the heart. The duo, in the midst of giving stellar performances, has proved that all women are not weak and all men do not have the same intentions.

Rahul Bose, on the other hand, is at his absolute best as the antagonist and patriarchy-driven characters in the man’s world. The actor has played the roles of twin brothers. One is the responsible Elder Lord (Bado Thakur) of the whole village and the other is mentally unstable. Both of them are misogynists, who have grown up in a society that encourages misogyny.

The film focuses on the murders that have been taking place in the village. The villagers couldn’t understand why is it happening to only men. One of the powerful scenes is given by Tripti, when the spirit of Goddess Kali hails inside her body and awakens her from her death, which is when the actress screams to her core. Bulbbul, who becomes the unknown chudail (witch) to the native people, is actually a part of a Goddess and a threat to the men, who in any way harm women.

In most of the places, the scenes speak to the audiences due to their appealing nature and vibe, which can only be credited to the cinematographer Siddharth Dewan, production designer Meenal Agarwal and of course, Anvita’s direction. Music director Amit Trivedi has done a phenomenal job with the background score of the film, which sometimes gives a scary vibe yet sounds soothing.

While the costumes have been apt according to the film and era of the story, Bulbbul’s white attire as the beautiful witch is symbolic and apt for the situation. At last comes the dynamic scene where the protagonist gets hit by a bullet, dies in the jungle fire and obviously comes back with more power. She sweetly summons her husband. He gets terrified after hearing the two beautiful words in the same tone again. The words are, "Thakur Moshai!"

Backed by Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma and her brother Karnesh Ssharma, Bulbbul is the perfect film to be streamed at this time of the year, which celebrates Halloween.

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