Film: Gulabo Sitabo
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Shrishti Shrivastava, Farrukh Jafar
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Rating: 2.5 stars
What is the crux of Gulaboo Sitabo
When you have actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana in one frame, one does expect intriguing storytelling. The recently released Gulabo Sitbao on Amazon Prime Videos directed Shoorjit Sicar written by Juhi Chaturvedi is nothing but a slow, satirical comedy that falls flat miserably. A lot could have been explored with the script however, the narrative is so weak that two such wonderful actors in one frame too couldn't do much to save it.
In a nutshell, Amitabh Bachchan as Mirza is the owner Fatima Mahal in Lucknow, while Ayushmann Khurrana as Baankey Sodhi one of the tenants in the haveli. The lead cast is supported by five other families who take the narrative ahead. The two and a half-hour dramedy (comedy plus drama) gives us an essence of Lucknowi culture and the day-to-day issues that the protagonists go through. What makes you stay through the film is the message that is put across by the makers that it's okay to desire a lot in life but extreme greed doesn't take you anywhere.
Plot and premise
Located in Lucknow, the 100-year-old mansion Fatima Mahal is a home to multiple families who pays merely 30 to 70 rupees as rent for the survival in the city.
While there is one tenant Ayushmaan Khurrana aka Baankey who doesn't pay even 30 rupees as the rent nor leaves the room. Then comes the angst aged and absurd Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan) whose only motive is to make money from Baankey, he is a greedy, selfish and a cunning old man.
Amidst all this comes in the officer of Archaeological Survey of India (Lucknow Circle), Gyanesh Mishra (Vijay Raaz) a public servant who wants to make the haveli a national heritage property and convinces Baankey how his plan will work best for him and the other tenants.
Cut to smart and witty Mirza who is old but not foolish to be fooled, the moment he comes to know about Baankey's plans, Mirza puts forth his man Christopher Clark (Brijendra Kala) who helps in resolving the property woes.
What happens to the ancient haveli? Does it remain home for those five families or becomes a national heritage? What happens to the ongoing feud between Mirza and Baankey?
Shoojit Sircar's 'Gulabo Sitabo' will answer all your questions. The social satire which is based on the psyche of mankind will make you think of all the materialistic thing that you have kept above your relationships.
Amitabh Bachchan as a greedy Mirza is all over the movie, he does a fine job but what lacked in his performance was, the overdone prosthetics that failed to show his expressions, his nose was predominately distracting.
If its an Ayushmann Khurrana films, the stakes are high, but with a script like this, there wasn't much for him to do other than fight with Mirza onscreen. There was a lot we expected and wanted to see. There wasn't anything to keep us engaged for two hours. He did his extreme best to pull off as the distressed Baankey.
Srishti Shrivastava's Guddo, as one of Baankey's sisters, does justice to her role in the film. Vijay Raaz and Brijendra Kala's comical, quick-witted act is commendable.
Fatima Begum, as Fatto, is hilarious but her character is not well chalked out.
Is it worth your time?
Juhi Chaturvedi has penned a story that is intelligent, witty. Every actor has played their part very well. As the film is shot in Luckow it is mesmerising to see beautiful roads, lanes, the monuments of the ancient city, the cycle rickshaws. The culture and dialect depicted in the film are surreal.
Coming to the background music and song, Shantanu Moitra's original score earns some brownie points for its meaningful and deep emotions. Lyrics by Dinesh Pant, Puneet Sharma and Vinod Dubey takes the narrative forward.
What caught my attention was how metaphorically director Shoojit Sircar has included two puppets named Gulabo and Sitabo in the film, the way they depict greed and hunger for material possessions is invariably followed by defeat and loneliness.
Can you skip it?
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जब भी हमारे देश में कोई नौजवान अभिनय के क्षेत्र में कदम रखना चाहता है तो उसका ध्येय होता है अमिताभ बच्चन। मेरी आख़िरी फ़िल्म में एक dialogue था कि बच्चन बनते नहीं है, बच्चन तो बस होते हैं। जब मैंने बचपन में चंडीगढ़ के नीलम सिनमा में "हम" देखी थी और बढ़े से बच्चन को बढ़े से पर्दे पर देखा था तो शरीर में ऐसी ऊर्जा उत्पन्न हुई जिसने मुझे अभिनेता बनने पर मजबूर कर दिया। मेरा पहला tv शूट मुकेश मिल्ज़ में हुआ था और यही वो जगह थी जहां जुम्मा चुम्मा दे दे शूट हुआ था। उस दिन मुझे I have arrived वाली feeling आ गयी थी। अगर तब यह हाल था तो आज आप सोच सकते होंगे मैं किस अनुभूति से गुज़र रहा होऊँगा। गुलाबो सिताबो में मेरे सामने बतौर 'सह' कलाकार यह हस्ती खड़ी थी और किरदारों की प्रवृति ऐसी थी की हमें एक दूसरे को बहुत 'सहना' पड़ा। वैसे असल में मेरी क्या मजाल की मैं उनके सामने कुछ बोल पाऊँ। इस विसमयकारी अनुभव के लिए मैं शूजित दा का धन्यवाद करना चाहूँगा की उन्होंने मुझे अमिताभ बच्चन जैसे महानायक के साथ एक फ़्रेम में दिखाया है। दादा आप मेरे गुरू हैं, आपका हाथ थाम कर यहाँ तक पहुँचा हूँ। "सौ जन्म क़ुर्बान यह जन्म पाने के लिए, ज़िंदगी ने दिए मौक़े हज़ार हुनर दिखाने के लिए।" -आयुष्मान ?? Catch #GiboSiboOnPrime today!
The lacklustre script keeps on grinding the same issue, and banter for two long hours, at one point you feel disconnected. The film could have been crisp and short. The dialogues too fail to pack a punch. Comic timings are not etched well either.
Only if you are a fan of Bachchan's work then Shoojit Sircar's 'Gulabo Sitabo' is your pick. Watch it for Ayushmann Khurrana's flawless performance. The film will not give you a great experience but will definitely put a smile on your face.