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'Gulabo Sitabo' Movie Review: A Moral Tale!

'Gulabo Sitabo' Movie Review: A Moral Tale!

Movie: Gulabo Sitabo
Rating: 2.75/5
Cast:
Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vijay Raaz, Gyanesh Shukla 
Screenplay: Juhi Chaturvedi
Music director: Shantanu Moitra
Producers: Ronnie Lahiri and Sheel Kumar.
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Release Date: 12 June 2020
OTT Platform: Amazon Prime

Bollywood acting legend Amitabh Bachchan and the current in-form star Ayushmann Khurrana have teamed up for the first time for "Gulabo Sitabo".

Directed by Shoojit Sircar of ‘Vicky Donor’ (2012) and ‘Piku’ (2015) fame, the film is written by Juhi Chaturvedi.

‘Gulabo Sitabo’ is the big Hindi release to debut directly on the OTT platform and no wonder that the buzz around the film has been high.

Let’s find out whether it lives up to the buzz.  

Story:
Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan), the husband of a Begum who owns Fatima Mahal, a dilapidated mansion in Lucknow, is greedy of money.

The 78-year-old Mirza is waiting for the death of his wife to become the true owner of the mansion and also trying to kick out the tenants of this century-old mansion.

But one of the tenants Baankey Rastogi (Ayushmann Khurrana), who doesn’t even pay the paltry rent of Rs 30 per month believes he’s also owner because they have been living there for years.

Mirza approaches a lawyer to vacate the tenets. Meanwhile, an archeologist tries to declare it as a heritage property. The drama of the battle of ownership begins. 

Artistes’ Performances:
Amitabh Bachchan’s acting is the pillar of this film, he gives a smashing performance. As a 78-year-old hunchbacked and cantankerous old man, Amitabh’s getup is perfect. Amitabh has changed his dialogue delivery to suit the role for more effectiveness. It is more of Amitabh’s story than the Ayushmann’s and the veteran actor is a hoot.

Ayushmann gives a decent performance. 

Shrishti Shrivastava as Ayushmann’s sister Guddo is a scene-stealer. Her character is the only one that has a modern touch in this film. 

Vijay Raaz as an archeologist, Brijendra Kala as a lawyer, and Farrukh Jafar as Begum also need special mention. 

Technical Excellence:
Cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay captures the mansion sequences and the Lucknow city meritoriously. The editing is the major issue.

The pace of the movie (screenplay and editing) is a huge minus. It needs a lot of trimming. Music also doesn’t lift the film at all. The makeup artist needs praise for the prosthetic work.

Highlights:
Amitabh’s performance
Last 15 minutes
The Lucknow milieu 

Drawback:
Weak script
Slow pace

Analysis
Set in present-day Lucknow, ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ is all about greediness. It is satire. Writer Juhi Chaturvedi’s story which mostly revolves around the dilapidated mansion is thin but her central theme that people pine for objects than the humans is nice. 

Like the 100-years-old haveli, the main characters – Mirza and Baankey belong to the old times, they are in sync with modern times.

The greedy old man charging a rent of thirty rupees from tenants, the Begum buying an Indian sugar candy for the old man, the tenants scheming things to evade the paltry rent…… these prove that the occupants of this haveli still stuck in the bygone era.

Amitabh Bachchan's character doesn’t even know the value of the antique things he possesses. He gets a shock when he knows that his mansion is worth Rs 5 lakhs. Yes, 5 lakh rupees is 100 crores to this old man. He loves to possess the mansion, while his wife Begum married him for the sole reason of staying in this haveli, Baankey also doesn’t want to move out of this place. Everyone is connected with this aging pile. However, all these elements come out slowly, in an unhurried manner.

The screenplay writer reserves the surprises for the last act. Till then, the story progresses at a languid pace. Although it has a shorter runtime (2 Hr 4 Mins), the slow narration gives the impression that we are watching a long film. 

The battle of wits ensues between Amitabh and Ayushmann bring some laughs in the beginning but the repetitive scenes put off after a while. Plus, the comedy in the film is not explicit, the humor generates from the language, less from the situations. 

“Gulabo Sitabo” stands for two puppets – Gulabo and Sitabo. We first think that this title stands for Amitabh and Ayushmann but it is about Amitabh and his begum who pulls a surprise string in the last. The final act is really good. The film can watchable for this portion, as well as for its nuanced performances. 

Good central performances and the final twist make ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ make a watchable movie. The slow pace is a hindrance but those who like subtle satires may find it a decent watch.

Bottom-line: Old-style

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