The three men of Bulbbul


Written by Anvita Singh
| New Delhi |

Published: July 1, 2020 1:56:08 am

(From left) Rahul Bose, Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Avinash Tiwary in the Netflix film Bulbul. (Photo: Instagram/rahulbose, parambratachattopadhyay, avinashtiwary)
Yes, Anvita Dutt’s Bulbbul is a feminist tale of revenge and honour. A vigilante’s tale. And while the female actors portray their characters brilliantly (especially the lead Tripti Dimri), what also drew me to the movie — despite a somewhat messy ending — were the characters written for the men, and the actors who played them. The vigilante Bulbbul’s moves and her fashion of meting out justice would not have had the powerful effect it did, had we not had Rahul Bose’s Indranil and Mahendra, or Avinash Tiwary’s naive, patriarchal and sometimes annoying, Satya.
And when you are done feeling one way about the men of Bulbbul, who all seem too entangled in their own egos to see anything beyond themselves, there comes Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s doctor friend. The doctor ‘babu’ is someone who is capable of not just compassion but empathy too. He might or might not harbour romantic feelings for Tripti Dimri’s Bulbbul, that is not the point. What he does about those feelings is what matters. (SPOILERS) He does not act out; he is not harsh or narrow-minded. His love and devotion for Bulbbul seem to have set him free, even if for some time, of the patriarchal mindset. He is just happy being Bulbbul’s friend, even though she seems distant and ‘different’ at times. He doesn’t question her motives; he lets her be. Which, even in this day and age, people have a hard time doing. So think about the Bengal of the 1800s.

Coming back to Rahul Bose’s twin acts of Mahendra and Indranil. Mahendra is differently-abled, and Indranil is the one who is the lord of the manor. Rahul, who only occupies a short screen time, makes every sequence counts. He embodies both Mahendra and Indranil with equal finesse. His bloody deed as the jealous, older partner of Bulbbul, who he cannot control or ‘have’, and as Mahendra, who cannot control his desires, is believable and horrific.
Also read | Bulbbul movie review: A powerfully feminist, revisionist tale
And now for Avinash Tiwary’s Satya. To be honest, there was not much for him to do here. But again, this was not ‘his’ film to begin with. He was meant to be a side story, a longing that Bulbbul felt. He was meant to occupy that space and be a little foolish about it as some people can be about these things. Tone-deaf, but still Bulbbul’s safe haven when she needed him, Avinash’s Satya was just what the story needed him to be — everything but nothing at all.
Produced by Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Films, Bulbbul has been written and directed by Anvita Dutt. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
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