Inglourious BULBBULS


(No Spoilers)


Although Seven was marketed as Se7en, it neither hurt the sense of the name, nor its pronunciation. Rather it reinforced the idea of ‘seven deadly sins’ around which murders in the film occur. Pursuit of Happyness was so named despite Will Smith pointing at the incorrect spelling on the wall graffiti in the film itself. Biutiful was plain indulgence, but at least represented the way in which the word is pronounced by Spaniards, which is what Javier Bardem plays in the film. Even Quentin Tarantino did not pick Basterds out of thin air. The word remains sprinkled in some left out portions of the original script. Inglourious was Tarantino’s modified salute to The Inglorious Bastards, an Italian war film he was part of. Perhaps he changed the spellings in the name of his prerogative only to bypass some copyright issues. You cannot really be sure with Quentin!


While naming their offering, director Anvita Dutt and producer Anushka Sharma opted for a ‘double-b’ after the first syllable ‘bul’. The result is a phonetical disaster, a confusion about the name’s meaning and results in a search for hidden messages. It represents a victory of superstition over etymology, and capital-driven prerogative over music of words. This speaks something about human arrogance which considers it kosher to change even bird songs to suit their narrow ends. Has tongue been given short shrift in this naming disaster?


The Persians had found a perfect name for the bird which comes from the onomatopoeia of its song. The bisyllabic Bul-bul has been stretched to bul-b-bul, or bulb-bul or bul-bbul!  I wonder why would anyone want to mispronounce a sweet bird’s name, or introduce false notes into her beautiful song. Someone somewhere goofed up massively.


An onomatopoeic does not get altered in translations. A bulbul in Persian remains a bulbul in Bangla and English. There seems to be no other excuse for inflicting this aesthetic pain of a jarring extra b upon the hapless audiences, except someone influential’s faith in numerology. Maybe a six-letter word was not auspicious, while a seven-lettered one was. The search for a ‘psychic number’ seems to have resulted in perpetration of this crime.


Even in that case why not write it as bull-bul, or bull-bul or even bull-bull (if eight letters were desired). That would not have changed the bisyllabic into a trisyllabic, and we might have convinced ourselves that the bulbul in question was sad, hurt, manipulative, vehement or lovelorn.


Anushka-Anvita have even managed to find their perfect bulbul in Tripti Dimri. Walking around the  rajbari with supreme confidence and secrets buried in her eyes, she manages to capture the essence of the story quite perfectly. If I close my eyes and try to recall the film, what flashes before me is a dreamy, coy songbird fluttering about in the scarlet-pink background of film-titles, waiting to be engulfed into flames of the climax. Tripti exhibits love, longing, invite, mystery, pathos, fear, hurt and contempt through her character and carries the film on her shoulders.

Does the extra b in the middle of the film’s name represent the Bari Bou( the elder bride that is Tripti) of the Rajbari?


‘Bulbbul’ reminds me of Kadambari (Bangla,2015) which featured the soulful romance between Robindranath Tagore and his sister-in-law Kadambari. To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet asked the makers and neither have they cared to explain why did they opt for Bulbbul instead of Bulbul?  Words are not cast in stone. Nor are they revealed by Gods, except Onomatopoeics that is. Accents might warrant subtle changes in names, which can also be altered for reasons of style (Boyz n the Hood) or visibility(Thir13en Ghosts). Creative license can explain most of the impulsive decisions taken by any artist, provided the end result exhibits some context or creativity.


Sadly, the title Bulbbul shows none. And yet it is a beautifully performed, shot and edited film which marries feminist revisionism with feudal milieu and prevalent sexual violence of rural Bengal, the only part sticking out being a ‘b’.



#Bulbbul #bulbul #InglouriousBasterds #QuentinTarantino #Tarantino #Biutiful

#PursuitofHappyness #Happyness #Se7en #TriptiDamri #AnvitaDutt #AnushkaSharma


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