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Sulu could be any woman who loves life, dares to live and then crashes headlong against it when given a chance – and then recapitulates and reaffirms herself.
That is exactly what Sulochana, the protagonist in the movie Tumhari Sulu does. She simply lives life the way it comes and stands up to it the way she likes to do it.
She is so taken by the so-called working women image, that time and again, when alone at home, she takes a handbag and spends many hopeful minutes, cumulatively adding up to hours – over a period of time, looking at the possible image of a working woman that she could be. The flair, the fling, the style et al…And then she just goes to sleep on a jhula in her balcony, in broad daylight, close to where a pigeon she named Bhagyashree annoys her with her droppings…and then she annoys the pigeon in return, with her classic pranks.
Most of the time she cuts vegetables at her small home in Virar. A lower middle class neighbourhood in Bombay. Listens to the radio and participates and wins oddball competitions like lemon and spoon race and radio contests for pressure cooker and mixer grinder etc. etc. Tchhh! Tchhh! How outrageously lower middle class!
She shares a rich relationship with her husband and her 11 year old son. In that she is a millionaire. Her banker sisters (the twins) and her dad keep visiting her home, to make her feel inadequate about her under-achievements. But she buries their jibes in her happy life with her husband and son and in her insatiable quest for doing something unique. She is unique in that, even outstanding.
Then, as someone who single-mindedly aims for something, she gets her own unique kind of opportunity. To be a Radio Jockey in the mid-night show of a FM radio. She grabs it with excitement and with the intent to bring prosperity into her family. A family struggling to make ends meet on her husband’s ordinary job, with whom she had run away to get married when very young. One of the primary reasons for her less-than-ordinary-life. And out of the blue she is a star. Could this be a fairy tale?
Oh no! No one lives happily ever after. Women don’t just achieve their dreams and become happy. They become really unhappy for doing that. So does Sulu; soon her domestic life takes control over her and she is lost in a dilemma of the to-be-or-not-to-be kind.
You can see the knife of discord, carving worry lines on her smiley-emoticon-like life. She starts to discover the gloomy, grumpy, anxious, tearful, unhappy emojis in her simple life.
The movie essays an ordinary underachieving woman’s journey, through not just her own shortcomings, but also through the disadvantage of being a woman. Sulu could be anyone, but no one can be as rich as Sulu, as she shows the grit, determination and the sheer, numbing audaciousness in not recognising her limitations.
Call her pea-brained and she will de-pod loads of green peas from a polythene in return; call her foolish and she will mimic tiny snippets of rambunctious dialogue from a mediocre blockbuster movie; call her a pain in the neck and she will not leave you alone till she gets what she wants.
She is a woman but with no idea of what she is up against.
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