Being excited for so long soon after I watched the trailer I finally managed to watch GULABO-SITABO on amazon prime.
A Shoojit Sircar direction starring veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan and talent hub Ayushman Khurana. Other supporting actors like Vijay Raza, Brijendra Kala, Srishti Shrivastava truly compliment the characters they play and the storyline. Farrukh Zafar rules the role of begum.
Shoojit Sircar is renowned for spectacular movies like pink, madras cafe, piku, and many more. Honestly, I had high expectation eyeing the cast and the entire team. And i feel delighted to pen that my expectations did not go in vain if not aptly met.
Gulabo-Sitabo is the first movie to get premiered on Amazon Prime before getting theatrical release due to COVID-19. Honestly, not being a cinema hall person, I cannot be happier.
The entire movie is set in Lucknow and the mixed-use of Urdu-Awadhi-Hindi which is native to Lucknow is simply cherry on the cake.
The cinematography is great which also clearly depicts the shabby, filthy, and decaying state of the old dilapidated “haveli” which contains the most of the substance of the story, pretty well both in dim and daylight.
GULABO-SITABO are the characters of the traditional puppet show which is native to Lucknow depicted as mistress and wife of the same man fighting fiercely over petty things which is analogous to the relationship between the two prime characters mirza and Baankey.
Mirza is a grumpy, greedy, and selfish 78-year-old man. By his appearance, I felt he cannot be elder than that ever. The bent spine, hump, and shaky walk make you believe of his age. Although his big gleaming eyes have a shine and spark which not let you feel pity on him for sure. The prosthetic makeup is so on point and Amitabh Bachchan at his absolute best has brought Mirza for real.
His life and all his actions and decisions revolve around an old, shattered, and filthy looking “Fatima Mahal”. He is the self-proclaimed owner of the haveli (which is originally owned by his begum and he is just a caretaker). I am profusely amused by Mirza’s personality and his appearance. Amitabh Bachchan has aptly brought Mirza to life and his witty ways to pester and trouble tenants will definitely leave you grinning distinctly. The way he steals things from his tenants speaks much about his shrewd personality, you cannot sympathize with.
Baankey, the prime reason for mirza’s trouble and vice- versa, who is also a tenant like others, has a relationship very identical to that of tom and jerry with Mirza. Their heated arguments, exchanges, and constant bickering make the whole movie lively. Certain references like “budhau”, “tutpunjiya”, “deemak”, “khatiya” and much more are used often and are so amusing.
Baankey is an uneducated, lower-middle-class man who runs an atta chakki to put up with his family. His “just the needed amount” protruding belly makes him a look like a real middle-class man and his actions, gestures, and dialogues are an absolute treat to watch.
A short span of Baankey’s love interest has also been shown which is not fulfilled and the girl returns with her husband and makes him feel humiliated. That reminds me of all the unsuccessful love stories of people constrained in fetters of poverty and helplessness. Ayushmann Khurrana perfectly knows how to play it real and low. At one instant when he says “bhaukal hai Hamara”, you truly feel like being in Lucknow.
The dialogues and the local language used “bade dino baad tapke ho”, ” fatto bi se Pehle taapk Gaye to kya hoga haveli ka”… I have many to quote. So basically the movie is filled with great and rich dialogues.
When Baankey appeals mirza to adopt him for both their needs, I feel a bit emotional and expect likewise but Mirza being Mirza doesn’t lose his spark and spirit.
The microwave scene when mirza approaches Baankey and family to collect 30 Rs. of rent, “Microwave hai, khana garam karne ki masheen, kal biryani do minute me khaul gai thi” left me laughing.
Fatima Begum is my absolute favourite character after obviously Mirza, the way she dressed all her fingers on speculation that Mirza tried to take her fingerprint while she was asleep, and then the way she gave an, “I know it all” look through her sunken eyes makes me fall for her. The entire twist she brings in the plot by selling the much anticipated and by then “disputed” haveli to her old forgotten love Abdul Rehman in just Rs 1, proves her strong wit and smartness and the way she returns to celebrate her birthday, the lady is a real swagger.
Gyanesh Shukla, the archeological official, and Christopher Clarke – Mirza Chunnan nawab’s lawyer do absolute justice to their roles and aptly depict the selfish, self-centered and double-faced sections of the society who do not hesitate to cheat people in the name of service and they have so well added to humor in the movie. Both actors are in great form.
I would like to give a special mention to Srishti Shrivastava for the bold, unapologetic, and fearless character she has successfully portrayed as guddo, Baankey’s sister. Her ways to get a better life can categories her as a greedy woman but I feel Guddo added missing spark by her sharp tongue.
GULABO-SITABO shows the ordinary lives of people and their desperate means to fulfill their wishes, to somewhat extent you can also witness the corruptedness of the system and miseries of a lower-middle-class man.
GULABO-SITABO has powerful characters, great actors but still, I found something missing. The pace of the movies is weirdly slow and it fails to engage you as an audience. The zest and drollness are missed throughout and the plot is a bit skimpy. The twist by the end and of course my very favorite fatto begum absolutely saves you from being bored and soon as you begin to feel sympathetic for our Mirza, he drives it away by saying he sold the chair for 250 rs. That’s a laugh not be missed.
GULABO-SITABO is worth a watch for some great dialogues, rich language, amazing acting yet the plot could have been better.
Rating for acting- 4.5/5
Rating for the movie as a whole – 3.5/5
With unfathomable love for language and a perpetual desire to explore new vocab I find my solace in reading and trying my hand at writing.