Bulbbul, the Netflix Original Movie launched today. just a month or so after Netflix launched Betaal, another horror project set in India. Bulbbul has opened to very low key promotions and there’s just one reason. We don’t deserve a well-made horror movie. Our audiences grew up laughing on what the Ramsays did, what Vinod Talwar did and what Mohan Bhakri did. And since then, the horror space has something that the biggies laugh at.
Its lowbrow entertainment for them, sleazy and titillating. They are okay with lyrics like ‘chatka le mujhe tandoori ki tarah’. Some say they are against the misogyny. These are the audiences okay with stories of someone’s lost love breaking her wedding on the day of the wedding because of ‘saccha pyaar’. They say they don’t like horror movies because they don’t believe in ghosts and ghosts don’t exist. I am yet to find a radioactive spider that’ll bite me and give me superpowers. Others say they are against the skinshow – these are the guys and girls who dance to Katra Katra.
My reviews are normally long winding and I take time to come to the point. But I will make an exception here and put the review out front. Bulbbul is an excellent, entertaining horror movie that’s everything you’d want out of a movie. It lays a glaring, unnerving and angering gaze on the traditions that society shackles women in. It creates an enthralling, enduring picture of the debauch that existed in colonial India, mostly misogynistic. And it has some of the most intense dynamics between and among the characters.It explores everything you’d want to see in an historic novel. the male and female banter, the female jealousy, the platonic love, the innocent characters. And yet, none of it is in your face. Because Bulbbul is about a story of revenge, its a murder mystery and its a story for the ages.
It has some beautiful performances. Tripti Dimri is a joy to watch, as she grows from a submissive, young girl to the woman who owns it all. Rahul Bose has given a great performance as well. Paoli Dam’s performance and character is an ode to the vamps of the family social dramas of the forties and the fifties, and she has a ball playing that character. Shashikala would be proud.
Before the week is out, the Bollywood politics will play its part and the negative reviews will start pouring in. Tiktok users who don’t know the difference between a storyboard and a script will tell their followers not to watch the movie because its against this and against that. Yet others will tell their audiences to watch the movie for some inane reason – creating more negative publicity. The woke reviewers will start nitpicking about small things. Like this one reviewer who dedicated a whole paragraph about Suchitra’s hair being white in Betaal. I am sure Patrick Graham hasn’t actually seen a woman after she’s been in the devil’s lair. What would make the reviewer like that scene? White hair, pink, green?
It won’t end here. The social networks are scattered with one-movie-directors and script-writers. They will vomit their nauseous thoughts about the movie via their Whatsapp Groups and their fans and yes-men and yes-women will have the reviews already in mind. Out of work, purana chawal producers will spite Anushka Sharma for putting every penny of the production budget into the movie and not trapping everyone in a 10 pound hotel and charge a 100 pounds.
Some of them will talk about how such a young female producer got such a big project. You don’t get projects because your offices are in the sleaziest parts in town and your female actors still don’t add their surnames to the credits. Directors who just have scenes in mind and never a screenplay will talk about how they had the exact idea but no big production house wanted it. Some wannabe script-writer will take one scene from the movie and talk about the screenplay fails to engage – character creation be damned.
Before all that happens, go watch Bulbbul.
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