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Black Bud on Amazon Prime Video review: Gritty & Thought provoking!

Senior journalist Jyothi Venkatesh reviews latest film Black Bud starring Atul Kulkarni and Himarsha Venkatsamy



Black Bud on Amazon Prime Video


Producer/Director:   Amol Kale

Cast: Atul Kulkarni, Amol Kale, Asif Basra, Kishor Kadam, Himarsha Venkatsamy, Kiran Thapar, Saba Saudagar, Mayur Mehra, Meghna Khanna, Vipin Sharma and Praveen Sirohi

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

Rating: *** (3 stars)

By Jyothi Venkatesh

The film revolves around three aspects — emotions, finance, and sex and the director has deftly explored all the three facets by converting them into compelling characters. Gritty visuals, impactful dialogues, ambiguous screenplay and powerful performances make this art house film about basic human desires engaging and thought provoking.

Black Bud is a story of a young lass called Sanya Malhotra (Himarshi Venkatsamy)   personifying all women especially those who come alone to live their lives in Mumbai and knowingly, or unknowingly make bad choices.  Her voice-over engages with you poetically but punches with unexpected questions, the simple and honest state of mind of a girl who has to face all forms of obsessions and judgments.

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Sanya craves freedom and space but little does she realize that breaking social norms and being an outcast in the society is not going to help her achieve that. She is used and abused and caged in some way or the other with her encounters with a sexually driven artist Mehmood Khan (Atul Kulkarni), an emotionally demanding Don (Amol Kale) and a sharp practical crook- driver (Praveen Sirohi).  Rarely do we get to see this combination of Art, Crime, Literature and Ruthlessness. Emotional, Sexual and financial desires are explored in a rather unexpected but bizarre manner.

Debutant film maker Amol Kale makes you step in his gritty perception of Mumbai and takes you through the journeys of unapologetic acts of different characters. Atul Kulkarni who plays Mehmood Khan who is married to two sisters and is living a sexually colorful and rich life with them as well as his girlfriend, is simply superb and has come a long way as an actor. His attraction towards Sanya appears obvious but the passion that fuels it further is projected enigmatically by Atul, following her in the narrow lanes of Mumbai’s overcrowded Kurla, gliding in trance with the hope of getting to paint her, mingling with colors and further very subtly seducing her. The paradox of curse and sins is beautifully used by the writer leading to the unwinding of Mehmood and Sanya.

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The emotionally demanding Sultan is played with aplomb by the director Amol Kale himself. The young actor playing an old character is very convincing. His dominating and cagy act is so well portrayed that along with Sanya even the viewer gets flummoxed and suffocated. The sequence where Sultan and Mehmood interact clearly shows what can happen when two different worlds and desires clash. Vipin Sharma and Asif Basra are also too good in their respective characters.

The film has a dream-like narrative where you know everything but are also a bit lost in between. The tempo of the film is experimental but everything gets tied up together when the crook driver surprises you with his entry. Praveen Sirohi plays the part so well that you start feeling the heat of his instinct. He only has a few lines but overpowers all the romantic theories that the other three characters have about life. The film very cleverly weaves a web of money, lust and emotions that stay real and ruthless for the protagonist and the audience as well.

This bold albeit complex almost non linear film which eschews vulgarity as well as violence and has been made with pure passion is worth a watch and what’s more gritty and thought provoking.