Bulbbul Movie Review : Pretty but troubled, Anushka Sharma’s Netflix movie is an imperfect fairy tale
Review of the film Bulbbul: A sequel to the brilliant Paatal Lok, Anushka Sharma’s film is a bit disappointing.
Directed for the first time by Anvita Dutt (whose career as a dialogue writer includes the runaway hit Queen, as well as Shaandaar, Kambakkht Ishq and Housefull), Netflix’s Bulbbul is the second streaming film this month, after Amazon’s Gulabo Sitabo, to be set in an ominous mansion. But while Shoojit Sircar’s worthy “haveli” has taken on a life of its own, Bulbbul’s, like the film itself, can’t help but feel artificial.
As an industry, Bollywood has been unable to produce good horror cinema, with a few exceptions, of course. In India, horror is always combined with other genres, such as music or romance. It is therefore very pleasing for Bulbbul to fully embrace its gothic horror origins – from Kamal Amrohi’s Mahal to Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak -.
In 1881, Bulbbul, a precocious young girl eager for scary stories, married into a rich “zamindar” family. With a clever gesture, it is revealed that her husband is not the boy Satya, with whom she quickly befriends, but Satya’s older brother, Indranil, the sinister Thâkur, played by Rahul Bose. The Thâkur has a twin, Mahendra, who is developmentally handicapped and is married to an intriguing woman named Binodini. Fate has condemned her forever to play Bulbbul’s second violin in the house, which Binodini, the “chhoti bahu”, does not appreciate.