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Bulbul: Song of the Nightingale

Atin Mehra
Atin Mehra, Mae Thornton Mehra, Jessica Latham, Ryan Brooks

Bulbul: Song of the Nightingale documents the life of a young Banchara girl living off National Highway 79 in Madhya Pradesh, India. Though only eleven years old, Bulbul already stands at a crossroads. The likelihood is high that her parents will soon force her into the longstanding community tradition of prostitution. Bulbul's tribe, the Banchara, have existed at the bottom of Indian society for centuries, relying on prostitution as their economic lifeblood. A continued lack of options allows this practice to persist.Bulbul's story sits at the nexus of the most pervasive and persistent social ills in today's India-sex, money, and a system of religiously sanctioned apartheid thousands of years old. The course for Bulbul's life was assumed by her parents long before she was born. In this community, a young girl is a precious commodity, as she will one day earn her family money either through a large dowry or as a prostitute. The film traces the contours of Bulbul's horizon through her relationships and encounters with the constellation of women in her immediate family and community, offering a glimpse of what might become her future.