A typical Shoojit Sircar pulp, but not juicy enough for an irregular Sircar viewer
Director – Shoojit Sircar
Story, Screenplay and Dialogue – Juhi Chaturvedi
Cast – Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana
Gulabo Sitabo is a satirical drama with all the ingredients that are required to make a perfect blend of humour and gloom. The movie revolves around the torch-bearer “Fatima Haveli” and its occupants, Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan) and Bankey (Ayushmann Khurrana).
Mirza is the would-be-owner of his Begum’s haveli and has fox-like intentions to claim his ownership. But life has not been easy, especially when everyone takes advantage of his weaknesses and with an adamant Bankey who is a literal pain in the back for Mirza. Both of them keep bullying each other and keep making it difficult for them to survive peacefully in the crumbling haveli.
Mirza and Bankey are not likeable people. They are shrewd and pretty pathetic. Chaturvedi and Sircar made no effort to bring out a softer side of these men. They wanted these characters to be seen as greedy brutes and dominating cheapstakes, but without judgement.
It is a sad story of sad men, who are continuously being double-crossed by whoever they trust and confide in. However, each scene has a shade of spirit and humour owing to the phenomenal performances by Khurrana and most obviously, Bachchan and the comic script.
Ayushmann Khurrana lives up to his role, given that he is adept at acting. His dialogues revolve around abetting Mirza and concluding him wrong. Lines like “Begum tak ko tum sambhaal naa paaye!” and “Arey jaayo jaake apni bakriyan sambhalo.” from the tenant Bankey who was insufficient in paying Mirza, the old and fragile landlord, brings out the irony of their relationship.
A special mention to Shristi Srivastava, who displays her prolific potential. You would wait for her to appear on the screen. Begum (Fatima) and she are the only female leads who always remained one step ahead of the men tangled in their Tom and Jerry chase. Chaturvedi has written her characters so impeccably that the audience will easily decipher their essence in the movie.
But, there are blurred lines in the movie which can only be decoded by an intelligent movie buff. For an amateur Sircar viewer, the movie may turn out to be monotonous, because they may be fatigued in comprehending what the movie is trying to communicate.
For instance, the movie’s title is based on two puppets shown in the movie who constantly fight in a puppet drama, but it is not clear what meaning the puppets hold and why were they shown?
The dialogues are excellently written by Juhi, which I suppose are a golden sword for a movie sprinkled with tones of humour and on-ground reality. Even the insults in the movie have been garnished with heavy jest and the colloquial tongue gives the movie more flavour.
Through the first half of the film, I assumed that Shoojit and Juhi have served an easy and well-designed platter for me, but towards the climax, I realized that they haven’t. I have to involve my senses to get it right.
You may find the story predictable, but sorry dear viewers, it isn’t so. Do not have any assumptions while watching the film, else you would be cheated.
Just like October or Piku, you would be left dumbstruck because of its arduous craft presented in a way that will make you reflect on the deeper ironies of life.