In comparison with the other films that we have seen from the combination of Juhi Chaturvedi and Shoojit Sircar Gulabo Sitabo is a light film with lesser impact. Just like I said, this is in comparison with the other films from the duo. Gulabo Sitabo is a slowly paced comedy that showcases simple things like greed and selfishness but in a more nuanced way.
The story is set in Lucknow. Mirza Sheikh is the landlord of a Haweli there. The property actually belonged to Mirza’s wife who is 17 years elder than him. The rent they charged from the tenants was Rs 30 per month and one of the tenants who lived there along with his sisters and mother, Baankey Rastogi always made excuses from paying the rent. When the archeology department suddenly noticed about the archeological value of the property, the tenants and the owners are dragged into a difficult situation as one was looking for the monitory benefit and the other was making sure they will get shelter. Their effort to solve this clumsy situation is the core of Gulabo Sitabo.
The comedy quotient in Gulabo Sitabo is slightly on the lesser side because there is a black comedy feel to it somewhere. Mirza is a man who doesn’t know the value of things in the most literal sense and also on an emotional level. Juhi Chaturvedi is not trying to create a character who realizes his mistake and regrets. The last two scenes in the movie pretty much convey that. The way Mirza reacts when he hears amounts like half a million, thirty thousand, etc are hilarious and this miser characteristic is used effectively to create humor. The movie takes ample time to create that atmosphere and that pacing issue causes some problems in maintaining the fun element. It is actually towards the very end, the plot really unravels and it clearly helps the film in creating a smile on the audience’s face.
Amitabh Bachchan is totally into the character. With that body language along with the prosthetic makeup, I must say he made sure that nobody will have a pinch of empathy towards that greedy old man. Ayushmann Khurrana as Baankey is also very convincing with that dialect and attitude. And the quarrels between the two are good fun to watch. Vijay Raaz as usual was hilarious in his character Gyanesh Shukla. Bijendra Kala as Christopher was good. Srishti Shrivastava as Guddo was also really impressive.
In terms of treatment, I would say Gulabo Sitabo isn’t as funny as a Piku because the moments are not so frequent here. But it has its moments and Shoojit Sircar knows how to approach them subtly. He and cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay manage to give us the vibe of an old city with so many buildings that represent the culture. Juhi Chaturvedi’s writing is taking some time to get into the rhythm of things but even during that period, she is giving interesting detailing to all those supporting characters. Somewhere I felt the movie was more focused on the character of Mirza and thus Ayushmann’s character got ignored a little bit. The music isn’t that evident in the narrative as it gets played in the backdrop in snippets.
Out of the four movies, Shoojit Sircar and Juhi Chaturvedi have made so far this one might well be at the bottom of the list, but still, it’s a movie that’s worth a watch. It is like a more nuanced narration of one of those bedtime stories you tell your kids. The characters and the humor make it a fun watch even though the pacing is an issue.
It is like a more nuanced narration of one of those bedtime stories you tell your kids. The characters and the humor make it a fun watch even though the pacing is an issue.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended