Bulbul Can Sing movie review: One of the most striking things about Rima Das’ films is just how vividly nature becomes a participant in ‘plots’ fashioned, organically, by human wants, needs, and frailties.
Bulbul Can Sing movie cast: Arnali Das, Manoranjan Das, Banita Thakuriya, Pakija Begum
Bulbul Can Sing movie director: Rima Das
Bulbul Can Sing movie rating: Three and a half stars
Young Bulbul is like the bird he named: Chirpy, curious, lively, exploring the many colors of life with his best friends, Bonnie and Suman. They — two girls and a boy — are both inseparable at school and beyond, sharing silly jokes, suspense, satire, pinch and silence like any other teenage gang anywhere in the world. Seeing them share a physical space scattered on a bed or on the ground, wrapped carelessly towards each other, bound by a desire for deep affection, is something rare to see in Indian cinema.
The fact that this trio and their friends and family live in a small village in Assam makes them a very distinct set indeed. Instead of the sterilized malls and multiplexes of their urban counterparts, their playground is their surroundings: waterlogged areas where you can put your fishing net, or mark your fingers, the trees you climb Can, and tights you can scratch your name, flowers. You can choose from grass and braid in your hair.
One of the most special things about Reema Das’s films is that “plots” have become a part of fashion through human needs, needs and extravagance. Bonnie (Thakuria): The two ‘friends’ are in the same class. And Suman, who is soft and soft, has been adjusted to this new equation.
The strongest, most effective thread in Das’s third feature, which follows Village Village Rockstars, is one that examines the difficulties of being a boy in a world where male-ness equates with rigor. Young boys tease Suman, calling her ‘Ladies’, who know grown men better. In a scene that breaks your heart, Suman says: कैसे How is this my fault? God made me so. Am i the same ‘
The hypocrisy with which we deal with teenage sexuality is undressed with a barbaric economy. To Bulbul’s father who wants him to become a singer, to Bonnie’s mother, who rejects her daughter’s ways, to the school-teacher who is eyeing Bulbul’s budding beauty, women. For a gossip group – a strong wave of approval. It turns out, from these adults, that it is useless against the quadrupeds, who are doing what comes naturally to those with ripped hormones.
A shocking death has taken place, and suddenly the sun dips into a darkened film. The slave takes us to a sinister peak, shows us the ugliness of humans who are cruel and quick to judge, and then softens the blow. And leaves us in a place where grief will, inevitably, lead to hope and restoration.
I fell in love with Village Rockstar and its young characters, who did not dance, dance, splash in the landscape as much. Bulbul Can Sing, which won the Best Assamese Film at the 2019 National Awards, and which can be seen as a companion and as its own film, is more ‘performance’. But the naturalness of the actors wins you over. Equally winning is what leaves you: growing up is not all fun and games, but can be a rainbow if we look.
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