Every child in India grows up listening to stories from their grandparents or parents and often these are folktales that include mythology, fantasy and even supernatural stories. Come 24 June, we’ll be transported to a village in early 20th century Bengal where a child-bride grows up to discover herself and also the haunting legend of a ‘chudail’ (witch) thanks to Netflix film ‘Bulbbul’.

Close on the heels of the resounding success of series ‘Paatal Lok’, comes the film ‘Bulbbul’ from actor-producer Anushka Sharma and her brother Karnesh Ssharma. This film marks the directorial debut of Anvita Dutt and stars Rahul Bose, Tripti Dimri, Avinash Tiwary, Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Paola Dam.

DIRECTOR WHO LOVES
FOLKLORES

Director Anvita Dutt is a well-known lyricist-screenwriter, and in fact, has written Anushka Sharma’s fantasy comedy ‘Phillauri’ that was also produced by the actor. Ask the director why she chose a supernatural thriller as her first film and she says, “Fables and folklores are what I enjoy personally. I love these kinds of stories. When I wrote this story just for the joy of it, I decided that I really want to direct it.”

Interestingly, ‘Bulbbul’ has no songs in it but features a strong and haunting background score from music director Amit Trivedi. “My lyricist friends tease me that I’m directing a film and there’s no song! I get ragged a lot because I had promised them that the entire album would feature all my lyricist friends! I did what I felt was right for the story – there was no place for a song but the score plays a very important role and I got a talented and dear friend, Amit Trivedi, to do the score,” reveals Anvita.

As with any film, a strong cast is key to the success of the director’s vision. While the casting agency helped bring on board Tripti and Avinash, Anvita roped in talented actor Rahul Bose on the advice of her friend Anshai Lal, director of ‘Phillauri’ and creative producer of ‘Bulbbul’. “I wasn’t sure he’d say yes to the film but it was wonderful the way Rahul responded – he was so kind with his words. Now when I look at it, I don’t think anybody else could have played each of those roles. I was really fortunate,” says Anvita about the cast of ‘Bulbbul’.

STRONG VISION ABOVE ALL

Talented actor Rahul Bose is known for seeking variety in his scripts and playing Bade Thakur in ‘Bulbbul’ seems to have offered him just that. “I loved everything about Anvita’s script – I love the stance it takes, the way it was written, the world that was created,” says Rahul. “I saw in what was offered to me stuff that was between the lines, stuff that was unsaid. As an actor, I’ve always searched for what was unsaid, what was between the lines. This film was perfect material.”

Rahul has worked with many first-time directors and believes that a person with a strong vision will deliver a wonderful film. “They need to have a solid idea of how they’re going to make the film; they can be stubborn about it as long as they’re open. Something has to ring true about that person. Anvita is absolutely wonderful; her sense of empathy, her sense of joy in our performances is fantastic,” he explains.

But he clearly states that one can’t act in a vacuum and having to play his character alongside Tripti, Paoli, Avinash and Parambrata, was a great experience. As in some of his other films, like ‘Chameli’, ‘Mr and Mrs Iyer’, ‘Kucch Luv Jaisaa’, the woman has the stronger, central role in ‘Bulbbul’. “If you’re an actor, you have to be excited about what you’re doing. Many actors may have said no to this film, that I’ve said yes to, because they’re playing second fiddle. I’ve never had that problem and it is partially true that actors like me, can’t afford to have that problem. For me, it’s the film that finally matters. If I’m going to be remembered for the role I played really well, I’m fine. More power to the female leads!,” Rahul emphasises.

BEING EMPOWERED

“I was under pressure post ‘Laila Majnu’ and was waiting for the right opportunity when ‘Bulbbul’ came my way. This was a film you can’t say no to. It’s a story that’ll take you back to your childhood,” says Tripti Dimri, who reveals that the role of Bulbbul was challenging due to the intense character graph. “I always felt closer to the innocent girl than the transformed, empowered woman and I had to work hard on it.”

The young actor smiles and says that initially she was scared of working with a seasoned and talented actor like Rahul Bose. “But when I got to know him, I found him really funny and fun to work with. I had some difficult scenes with him in the film and he made me feel so comfortable. Without his help and contribution, it wouldn’t have been possible. I’m really thankful to him,” gushes Tripti.

Signing off, director Anvita Dutt, Rahul and Tripti say they were eagerly waiting for the world to watch their film ‘Bulbbul’ on 24 June on Netflix.

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