Review: Bulbbul lacks a fluid

The film has the narrative placed in pigeonholes and lacks a fluid thread

By   |  Published: 27th Jun 2020  7:12 pm

Director Anvita Dutt completely looses the plot. Pushing the ‘ghost’ in the most unconvincing narrative. The problem is that everything about it goes overboard and the surreal narrative turns sour. Not a ghost of a chance to be absorbing. There is the feudal Bengal backdrop.

The cineaste will probably compare the mount with Aprana Sen’s Goywar Baksho. It stands more to contrast than compare. Anvita cannot blame others too much. She has also written the film with so many loopholes that the ghosts walk through and have Frost’s liking for the “woods”.

Year 1881. Place: Presidency of Calcutta. Event: Marriage of a child Bulbbul (Ruchi Mahajan). The baraat includes child Satya (Varun Buddhadev), his brothers Indranil (Rahul Bose) and Mahendra (Rahul Bose – mentally challenged). On the way back to the haveli (reminiscence of feudal times) Satya entertains Bulbbul with ghost stories. It is only on arrival at the haveli that Bulbbul realizes that she is married to Indranil and not Satya. Naturally however a bonding develops between Bulbbul and Satya.

Fast forward to the present when Bulbbul (Tripti Dimri) welcomes Satya (Avinash Tiwari) into the haveli after his English sojourn for education. Education actually is a pretense by Indranil to keep the two away from each other on the suggestive prods of Bhabi Binodini (Pauli Dam) who is married to Mahendra but is interested in Indranil. When Satya returns to the haveli he sees a few people being killed and the local ghost being blamed for it. As the sutradhaar of ghost stories, he is expected to swallow the new development but Angrezi education has made sure life is not about just such beliefs. Also with him is Dr. Sudeep (Parambratha Chatopadya) who is constantly prodding him to believe either in the ghost on about how Bulbbul has been wronged.

The film has the narrative placed in pigeonholes and lacks a fluid thread. The result is a very contrived narrative that fails to evoke any emotional bonding. There are one too many loose ends that cry for logical explanations.

Often enough small budget films may not be mounted on a large scale but have a well chosen efficient if not brilliant cast. Here too the production fails. People are either trying too much like Tripti Dimri in the title role or just cannot emote like Avinash Tiwari. Speaking of the later the question is not whether the film maker has chosen the right person as it is whether the actor has chosen the right calling. The Bangla look is reminiscent of the Biswajit thrillers of the sixty’s sans the melody and the lovely black and white cinematography of those times.

The film closes with a seemingly eerie haveli with Indranil (Rahul Bose in yet another reliable screen performance) surveying the decadence. Again, one is tempted to contrast this with the eerie mehfil that Guru Dutt captures in Saheb Biwi aur Ghulam. This ghost neither scares nor haunts. It only taunts.

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