The Lore and the Lure of a Girl Called Chudail
Rating: Can’t Miss It
A beautifully told period tale of a girl who likes scary stories and grows up to realize she’s a part of one herself. A wonderful cast and even better performances that make you wish there was a ‘chudail’ out there in real life who was really out to avenge women who are hurting.
Remember how women were told that their job was to do only one thing: ‘gehne banwaao, gehne tudwaao’ way back in Sahab Biwi Aur Ghulam?
Well, little Bulbbul gets married to a much older man (Rahul Bose is a fabulous Bade Thakur) who has a mad twin, and a very sweet little brother Satya (grows up to be Avinash Tiwary whom you last saw in the undervalued Laila Majnu). The mad twin is married to the beautiful, bitchy Choti bahu (played brilliantly by Paoli Dam, whom I saw last in the weird Kali 2 on Zee5).
The atmospherics in the film are just breathtaking. The thakuron ki haveli which is very Bangla, very British, the family temple for Kali, the eerie forests that connect the haveli to the outside world. Everything transports you to that time where you will begin to hear whispers about ‘chudail’…
I fell in love with the four poster beds and the rest of the furniture in the haveli, the luxurious upholstry and the clothes and jewelry everyone was wearing. And yes, the Mubkhar shaped like a bird for Bulbbul’s hair. I loved watching Badi bahu turn out to be sassy and mysterious and wondered where she could have found so much confidence. Bulbbul is played by the lovely Tripti Dimri who has outgrown the awful Laila she played in Laila Majnu (I remember wondering why Majnu actually fell for this silly vain chit). She has a better role in Bulbbul and credit goes to director Anvita Dutt for making Bulbbul what she is on screen.
Tripti and Satya are connected again in this story, but there’s a catch. Dr Sudip (the gorgeous Parambrata Chatterjee) looks after Bulbbul. Satya is insanely jealous and begins seeing him as a villain. He even accuses Bulbbul of ‘making a mistake’…
But the villain here is as Bulbbul says, ‘Tum saare ek jaise ho.’
There are murders in the village, and everyone says it is the chudail.
But I won’t say more.
I am one of those people who figure out things in a story (it’s a curse, I tell you!) but the reveal in this film is quite gratifying.
And yes, this film makes me wish for a real life chudail to help women pushed to impossible corners. Anushka Sharma as producer is making wonderful choices.