BULU FILM (2022)

A still from the film
  • Release Date: 09/09/2022
  • Cast: Pranami Bora, Chanku Niranjan Nath, Apurba Barman, Himanshu Prasad Das
  • Director: Himanshu Prasad Das

A devastating dive into the abyss of helplessness and the tragedy emanating out of meager needs

— Ambar Chatterjee

I went into Bulu Film expecting an efficiently done situational comedy which it did turn out to be for at least the first half and a large chunk of the second half. However, how the film culminated horrified me. The climactic portions affected me at such an emotional level that I don’t even feel like commenting on the different aspects of this film that worked or didn’t work for me because this is more than just a film.

This is an emotional and harrowing journey of three unassuming souls that is laced with twists and turns that we all know too well. However, it is only when we see these twists and turns through the lens of Himanshu Prasad Das that we are able to gauge the quantum of the different emotions and tragedies that make up the journey through these lanes. Bulu Film is a breathtaking and emotionally devastating documentation of village life and its simple, uncomplicated, and sometimes mounting tragedies that can push men and women to do things that are as inexplicable as it is unavoidable.

What is up with the protagonists of Bulu Film: –

The three protagonists of the film played by Chanku Niranjan Nath, Apurba Barman, and Himanshu Prasad Das are plagued by the covid-19 pandemic that has not only taken away their respective means of income but has also destroyed any chances of them finding new avenues of earning. They try a few innovative ideas like selling liquor illegally but are quickly put in place by law enforcement. They each have mouths to feed. They each have responsibilities to complete and they each need money desperately to at least continue to survive. The matter is made worse by the fact that the pandemic looks set to continue for at least a while. This fills the trio with tension and anxiety and makes them do things that they would not dream of in their worst nightmares. Thus, making a blue film and selling it online doesn’t seem as implausible to them as it would have under easier circumstances.

With this, Himanshu, Maharshi Tuhin Kashyap, and Chanku Niranjan Nath are able to conjure up a believable reason that makes the trio take the unbelievable decision of making a blue film. Once this basic premise is set, the rest of the film is completely dependent on the performances and the drama that is worked out between the characters resulting from their respective predicaments, the problems that arise in the making of the blue film, and the immense human tragedy that is wrapped in the mundanity and rib-tickling comedy of the film’s screenplay but ultimately bursts out onto the screen in the final 15-20 minutes of the film.

Himanshu Prasad Das in a still

Is it just the performances or the dialogues too?

The majority of the film is played out between Chanku Niranjan Nath, Apurba Barman, and Himanshu Prasad Das. They are so captivating in the rendering of their respective characters that there wasn’t a single moment when I felt disassociated or disinterested in the proceedings. I have to mention the dialogues of the film specifically in this regard because I haven’t seen such flawlessly organic interactions between characters and pitch-perfect dialogue delivery, too often in Indian cinema. Characters say all that is important clearly but then they also mince their words in different ways from time to time adding realism and believability to the dialogue. This is something that we see throughout the film.

The way the characters react to certain situations is breathtakingly real and adds a lot to the overall impact of their respective performances. There is a scene where we see the three protagonists approach a woman who has a questionable reputation in the village to perform in their blue film. This scene is tragic and hilarious at the same time in ways that I find difficult to express in words here. One needs to see the film to understand and appreciate the greatness of what Himanshu and his team have achieved in this scene. In another scene we witness a woman being forced by her own family member to perform in the film. As the man walks out of the room after telling her what to do, we hear her wailing in the background and that coupled with the expression on the man’s face makes for one unforgettable and haunting visual representation of tragedy. 

Pranami Bora and her sensational performance in the climax: –

I will not spoil the climax for my viewers but I can’t help but be in awe of Pranami Bora’s rendering of the last few minutes of her character. She is great throughout but, in this scene, she metamorphs into something unbelievable. As was the case with the character played by Himanshu Prasad Das, I couldn’t look at her character or see her expressions. It was difficult. The fact that a lot of her story remains unexplained only made her character that much more tragic and haunting.

Chanku Niranjan Nath in a still

Why Bulu Film is doing so well: –

After watching this film, I can safely say that everyone who watches this film will be shaken by it if he/she is made of flesh and blood. The film prepares you for the final blow from the very first scene. All the situational comedy and the many “laugh out loud” moments act as diversions from the tragedy that the film is always building up to. This not only comes as a major surprise for the masses but also ensures that they leave the theater with the film on their minds and keep talking about it with their friends and relatives for the next few days. There will also be those who will come back to the film. While the underlying tragedy and the shocking finale are its forte, the situational comedy is equally well done and contributes immensely to keeping the film interesting, entertaining, and quirky. The unforgettably funny interactions between the three protagonists will definitely linger in the minds of the viewers long after the film is over.

Why we should watch Bulu Film: –

Bulu Film reminded me of the Italian neorealist cinema made popular by Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves. Satyajit Ray was immensely inspired and influenced by Bicycle Thieves and went on to make Pather Panchali which had similar qualities and traits that Ray loved in Bicycle ThievesBulu Film has many of these inherent qualities that made Italian Neorealist cinema so popular. One additional quality that it has is its ability to entertain throughout. This is something that many people trying to emulate Italian Neorealism couldn’t replicate successfully. I feel that we are living in a great time in Assamese Cinema. Week after week, we are getting minimalistic but inspired, well-made, superbly acted and passionate storytelling from the region that deals with a plethora of different subjects and can be called our own.

Thus, watching a film like Bulu Film is not just about supporting regional cinema but also about basking in the glory of the picturization of issues, emotions, stories, tragedies, and comedy that is our own. It will be very easy for us to understand and appreciate a film like this and if we can’t appreciate it, no one else can be expected to. Thus, I urge all my viewers to go see this film today. If this film does well there will be a lot more like it and that is something I am hoping for.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


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