With just about 90 minutes runtime, the new Netflix film Bulbbul seemed promising from its trailer. It has been directed by Anvita Dutt, who is also credited with the screenplay. And the screenplay is quite irritating.

The overtly red tones to symbolize horror and the overwhelming amount of smoke pervading the sets make no sense. The big problem lies in the fact that the makers seem to be confused about whether they wanted this to be a horror film or a thriller. This confusion comes across in the screenplay. And the slow pace, despite the short run-time, doesn’t help.

Set in the early 1900s, the story follows Bulbbul, a pre-pubescent girl who is married to a very rich and significantly older man, but finds herself falling in love with his younger brother. ‘A child bride grows up to be an enigmatic woman presiding over her household, harboring a painful past as supernatural murders of men plague her village.’ – says the Netflix description.

Tripti Dimri who plays the titular lead character is truly the hero of the film, her metamorphosis from a shy, demure girl to a confident, cocky woman is worth applause. Rahul Bose doesn’t have a lot of screen-time, despite playing twin-brothers, but does his parts well. However, as Bulbbul’s husband, his character arc is phoney.

Somewhere towards the climax, the movie does have its high points. There was one scene that gave me goosebumps, not the scared kinds, more like the ‘woah’ kind. But even that scene was quite predictable. Oh and that’s another big trouble with the film – it’s pretty predictable. In the very first ten minutes there is so much foreshadowing done, that an avid movie watcher can easily forecast a lot of what is going to happen.

While it might be the case that the makers deliberately tried to make the whole plot mysterious and open-ended, but it comes across as a muddle. If you want to make a horror film, go all out with the crazies. If you want to make a thriller – keep it real. They just blur the lines and mess up a film that had a lot of potential. However, it is definitely worth a watch. And those who are open to artistic liberties might even like it a lot. Guess I would give it a 6/10.

P.S – On a completely unrelated note – I published my second book – ‘Love, Loss, Lockdown’. It’s a collection of short stories, so check it out if you are looking to read something new.