BOTTOM LINE: Overstuffed And Tiring Narrative With A Neat End
|Platform: Amazon Prime||Genre: Comedy/Drama|
What Is the Story About?
Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan) is a miser old man who has only money on his mind. But, he neither has sense nor brain, to know the actual worth. Bankey (Ayushmann Khurrana) is one of the tenants in Mirza’s mansion. There is always a struggle between the two. Mirza wants Bankey to vacate whereas Bankey won’t.
One such quarrel between Mirza and Bankey at a police station leads to the archaeology department and a civil court lawyer entering the plot. What happens to the three, Mirza, Bankey and the Mansion is the basic plot of the movie.
Amitabh Bachchan once again slips into the character he essays. It takes time to get used to the prosthetics – especially the nose which looks like it could fall anytime, and the dialect. But, once that is done, there is nothing to complain.
More than the performance, as in acting, it is the dedication with which the character is physically carried by Amitabh Bachchan that makes it spellbinding. The body language, the weariness, is all well showcased. There is no single missing beat. The dubbing of the part further adds to the impression.
Ayushmann Khurrana does well to hold his ground in front of Amitabh Bachchan. He shows extreme confidence and plays his part as naturally it is meant to be. The role is a regular one for him, and he pulls it off with ease. The combination scenes work well for the overall narrative, which is the biggest takeaway.
Shoojit Sircar is a brand in Bollywood, particularly in the multiplex circuit. Frankly, with films like Vicky Donor, Madras Café, Piku, and October, it doesn’t come as a surprise. The last of these was also his most divisive work.
Gulabo Sitabo takes Shoojit Sircar further in a new direction. It is something he has not done before. But, it has the soul, neat undercurrent message, rumination of life, living, and people around us., which is usually imbibed in his narrative. But, they all happen in unexpected settings.
On the surface, therefore, Gulabo Sitabo is the director’s most straightforward tale. It is about a quarrel between the landlord and the tenant. It could easily look like another Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar. The initial portions progress in a similar fashion, which makes the narrative boring.
However, once we get to the actual story involving the archaeology depart and a lawyer, that’s when things start to get interesting. The director slowly unravels the different layers and takes us neatly to the point he wants to convey.
The mansion is integrated beautifully into the proceedings, so much so that it feels like a character, in the end. It is the best part of the film along with the message related to understanding the “value” of what we have. The pricelessness is not for everyone to get, and the losers are those who do not get it.
The other aspects that work for the movie are conversations. All the scenes involving the family of Bankey are superb. It cleverly puts to light the patriarchal mindset of having a male head of the family. At the same time highlights the progressiveness of the females around him. The subversion brings undercurrent intention when we know who is having fun and succeeding in life.
The track involving Mirza and his Begun is another highlight. The way the mansion is woven into their relationship is beautiful. There are other such similar parts, which are both entertaining and engaging.
Coming to the problem with Gulabo Sitabo, it feels like overwritten. We get this impression at the start, and the same continues throughout. It leads to the proceedings appearing dense and stuffed, in many portions. Add the mundane beginning, and we have a decent chunk that could be trimmed for a fluent and crisp narrative.
The climax too feels stretched. But, the way it ends, makes up for it. The hammering effect by the director to put across the message could have been cut short. A clean narrative like Amitabh Bachchan’s underrated flick Saudagar (1973) would have been ideal in delivering the message and captivating the viewer’s attention.
Overall, Gulabo Sitabo has enough going for it to make it a worthwhile watch. It is lengthy and trimming in parts could have worked wonders.
The movie is filled with many actors, for bits and pieces parts. The standouts among them are Srishti Shrivastava, Brijendra Kala, Vijay Raaj and Farrukh Jafar. They hold the narrative firmly and grab attention whenever they appear.
In short, the many actors help in getting across the story without one losing interest or lost in the proceedings. None, however, have a role that genuinely can be called fire-cracker, though. They help in taking the narrative forward without any show-stealing abilities. There are others like a mute caretaker or Pandey ji who also shine with their simple acts.
Music and Other Departments?
There are only a couple of songs which appear as part of the narrative. They don’t particularly drag the proceedings but do slow it down a bit. The background score by Shantanu Moitra is effective. The cinematography by Avik Mukhopadhyay is fine. It captures the weariness and the small town locality well. The editing should have been better.
The writing by Juhi Chaturvedi is neat but gives an overindulgent feeling. There is some hilarious one line banter, that might go under the radar. But, in the end, they seem a bit pointless and could have been done away with.
Ending Portions (Before Final Few Minutes)
First Half An Hour
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Gulabo Sitabo Review by Sid
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