Bulbul Can Sing, a film by critically acclaimed Assamese director Rima Das is a powerful and thought-provoking film about three teenage buddies growing up in a small village in rural Assam, in the remote northeast state of India. Set in the village that Rima Das grew up in, the film is about three teenagers and their journey of self-exploration.
Starring Arnali Das, Manoranjan Das, Banita Thakuriya, Pakija Begam in lead roles, the coming-of-age film is a gripping tale of three teenage inseparable friends who become victims of India’s semi-feudal and old-fashioned traditions.
The movie draws parallels in several places and the director’s use of nature and landscape, natural elements like flower, water and the untapped natural beauty has been beautifully woven into the characters of the film. It is not incidental that Bulbul, the main protagonist lives in the village, it is complimentary.
The happy mode of the film, receives a rude jolt when the teenage girls are caught secretly meeting boys. They are mercilessly beaten up, dismissed from school and faced with strong challenges from their family and community. Their deep friendships are broken, and so are their souls as they confront the situation in their own way – breaking down, re-building and finding out ways to keep living with their kindred souls.
The lack of electricity, mobile, television or even a radio is a reflection of the backwardness that so many young teenagers in India are trapped in. The music and background score, singing of Krishna and Radha’s devotional songs by Bulbul’s father, the Radha- Krishna katha, all draw parallels and is a clear reflection of the hypocrisy that people are not willing to accept.
The film will be screened at Stratford Picturehouse on June 25 and at BFI Southbank on June 26. Both screenings will be followed by Q&A sessions by special guests.
Born and raised in a small village in Assam in northeast India, Rima Das is a self-taught screenwriter, now based in Mumbai and Assam. She is the Managing Director of Flying River Films which supports local, independent filmmaking in the region. Best known for making indigenous and realistic films with non-professional actors, her films have been striking a chord with people not just in India but across the globe.
Screenings in London:
6:30 pm Stratford Picturehouse
Q&A with special guest
6:15 pm BFI Southbank
Q&A with special guest