Bulbbul is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language supernatural drama written and directed by Anvita Dutt. Produced by Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Sharma, the film stars Tripti Dimri, Avinash Tiwary, Paoli Dam, Rahul Bose and Parambrata Chattopadhyay. Bulbbul set in a backdrop of 1880’s Bengal presidency, revolves around a child-bride & her journey from innocence to strength. Bulbbul was released on Netflix on 24 June 2020.
Set in Bengal Presidency during 1881, the film shows a 5-year old Bulbbul getting married to few decades older Indranil who has a younger twin, Mahendra (who is mentally challenged and married to Binodini), and the youngest Satya (who is closer to her age and whom she assumes is her husband). Twenty years later, we see Satya returning from London after studying law; Mahendra has died under mysterious circumstances and it has been five years since Indranil left home permanently. The young child bride, Bulbbul, is the thakurain of the ancestral mansion. Satya visits the widowed Binodini, who tells him some chudail killed her husband because she found reversed foot prints leading away from his body. More stories of men being killed in the village by a witch begin to capture the interest of Satya, enamored by the confident and self-assured Bulbbul who is shown to be an emotional wreck and docile when Satya was leaving for London.
In flashback throughout the movie, Bulbbul and Satya are always close being of the same age group. Mahendra is showing to be getting uncomfortably close to Bulbbul on many occasions and Indranil has to intervene. Sensing the bond between Bulbbul and Satya, and fueled by Binodini, Indranil feels jealous and sends his brother away for education abroad. Bulbbul burns a diary which documents her co-writing a story with Satya, but Indranil finds a few corners which escaped the fire and misinterprets its content, loses his temper and beats her feet to a pulp. The doctor is called and told that she fell from the stairs and he skeptically informs Indranil that it may take a year for Bulbbul to even heal from her wounds in her feet. Indranil then leaves and says he will keep sending money to the family; there is nothing left for him there. Bulbbul is still recovering from the pain and shock when Mahendra enters and rapes her, which leads to her death. But through divine intervention, she jolts back to life. Binodini comes and cleans away the evidence of her husbands rape, while recounting all that she was told when she was married off to Mahendra (“he may be mentally challenged, but you shall get the riches and luxuries”). The doctor enters and while putting her feet back into the slings notices fresh wounds on the inner parts of thigh. He tries to ask her about it, but Bulbbul asks him to do his job and leave.
At present she is informed on the anniversary of Mahendra’s death, that Satya’s coach driver killed his first wife. While this is happening, Satya has gone to arrest the doctor whom he suspects to be behind the murders. Satya tells the doctor he will believe he is innocent if he sees the chudail himself. While on the way to the city, the driver is killed and Satya sees the chudail for the first time through the mist. He fires shots at her and vanishes into the fog. The doctor tries to go after him but finds Bulbbul on a tree in her full in her raw, avenging avataar, and realises it has been her who had slain the vile men of the village. He also realises that her feet injuries had resulted in them being twisted backwards, a characteristic usually attributed to chudail. She has been shot and he wants to help her but Satya stops him and sets fire to the nearby trees in order to burn her down with the forest. The doctor tries tells him how she is not an evil spirit but in fact, a Goddess. He tries to tell Satya that it is his sister-in-law, but in anger Satya does not listen. He finally realizes who she is when the doctor worriedly calls out for Badi Bahu – the title of Bulbbul in the manor, when he is looking for her in the flames. He then realizes what has happened and breaks down. Bulbbul is shown closing her eyes to recount her life in flashes in her final moments.
One year later, Indranil returns to the abandoned haveli. Satya has left, stating that he once wished to be like his elder brother, and was then scared to be. But not any longer, as all three brothers have finally the same blood on their hands. While in the haveli, Indranil hears Bulbbul calling him in her signature tone. Her form appears to be rising from ashes, and gives a sinister smile, implying she finally takes her revenge on him.
Tripti Dimri as Bulbbul
Avinash Tiwary as Satya
Paoli Dam as Binodini
Rahul Bose as Mahendra / Indranil
Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Dr. Sudip