Based on true events, Bittu tells the story of a school poisoning from the eyes of a quick-witted young girl named Bittu whose sharp tongue saves her from the horrifying fate of her school mates. Before things go south, the film centers around the fiery friendship between Bittu, played by Rani Kumari, and Chand, played by Renu Kumari. At eight years old, Bittu’s outspoken and clever attitude is balanced by Chand’s level-headed composure. Their friendship is epitomized by endless laughter, the exchange of snarky comments, and unconditional love.
The organic performance of these young actors brings to life a relationship that many women can relate to. It’s a familiar friendship that can more accurately be described as a sisterhood. No matter the number of arguments or scuffles, Bittu and Chand will always be there for each other. Unfortunately, their friendship is left off on one of their routine arguments when the unimaginable becomes imaginable. The depth of their friendship is represented in a scene where, before she knows what has happened, Bittu is hit with the feeling that something bad has occured and responds with a piercing cry of Chand’s name. The devastating scene leaves the audience wondering how these events will shape Bittu’s path in life.
Marked by an overcast sky and rare moments of sunkissed lighting, Shreya Dube’s cinematography mirrors the youthful spirit of the children while also reflecting the harsh reality that haunts their future. With a green, red, and purple color palette, the imagery paints a beautiful picture of the Himalayan terrain and pays homage to the culture-rich setting of the remote village.
Bittu tackles key issues in film and society by offering a poignant look at female friendship and people’s ignorance when it comes to the basic human right to health and environmental justice. “Bittu the Revolutionary”, as her English teacher calls her, is a bold and memorable character that serves as an example of how girls and women should be depicted with complex and multi-faceted personalities in film.