Bulbul Can Sing Review
‘Bulbul’ is a bird known to have an unpleasant voice, but it’s a bird and what’ll birds do if not chirp and fly?
Sensitive in its filmmaking, it’s not a commentary/preaching on a social issue. It’s a world where farmers think, ‘Cows’ are profitable but ‘Pigs’ are disgusting to rear. It just takes you to the world of its characters, makes you spend some time with them(that are reminiscing of our own adolescence days – School Functions, Dance Rehearsals, Group Study and First love) and then lets you feel the angst of their pain. This lack of Sensationalism is something that makes it Authentic.
Das poignantly puts forward this question, while using Natural Sounds – Birds, Water and Air (A photo studio scene with great sound design to depict traffic noise) and visuals that are serene yet earthy in texture portraying an Assam that’s not out of a Tourism Advertisement (like Shots showing - Swing off a tree, bathes in the river, Diwali celebration and flowers ). Shot choices making sure, you’re sitting along with the characters. The production and art design giveaway a more authentic Village and School surroundings.
This subtlety goes away(not the simplicity) when a boys group decides to use sticks for some Moral Policing (The screaming of the girls from that scene is still daunting).
The film uses parallel layers with dexterity – One to use the ‘Bulbul’, ‘Flowers’ and ‘singing’ to pass subconscious messages and others to establish connections between the characters and viewers. The film lacks professional actors – giving a realistic relatability (example – Moments of jealousy and possessiveness between Bonnie and hear beau creating nostalgic humor). The refinement of craft is in the fact that these, simplistic performances are not due to faulty filmmaking but conscious choices for Realism.
Bulbul’s Father expects her to become a singer and carry his legacy forward (Much like the Society expects us to follow its Norms) taking her own voice away (But she still has the boldness to sing, to have her own voice). The film‘s subtlety demands introspection from the viewer, but the Sensation loving, social media masses might not want to look that deep. The film leaves us with a conversation between a mother and daughter(with symbolic Rainbow within clouds background) who decide its best to ‘Accept’ the societal norms. But is it fair on our account for the women to ‘Accept’ their fates and at what cost?
In a Scene, Sum, her friend asks her to tie her hair (follow the norm) or else the ghost will hunt her (Consequences) – indicative of his own state of mind (Being called ‘Ladies’ by the village folk).