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Gulabo Sitabo: An intelligent Satire With A Surprising Climax

Posted: June 21, 2020

Juhi Chaturvedi has beautifully penned the entire tale giving a full view of assorted greed, but each character has been so humanely portrayed that you don’t end up holding against any of them.

Prime Video Movie Review: Gulabo Sitabo (12 Jun 2020)

Genre: Satire Comedy Drama
Language: Hindi
Duration: 124 minutes

Director: Shoojit Sircar

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurana, Vijay Raaz, Bijendra Kala, Srishti Shrivastava, Farrukh Zaffar

Gulabo Sitabo is a social satire depicting greed harbored by the owner, heir apparent, tenants, government officials and prospective buyers of a prime property.

Plot

The 78 years old tall, lanky, haggard, hunchbacked but ever vigilant Mirza Chunnah Nawab (Amitabh Bachchan) resides in a century old and dilapidated Fatima Mahal in Lucknow, with his delirious wife Fatima Begum (Farrukh Zaffar), a couple of domestic helps and four tenants.

Fatima Begun is 15 years older than Mirza and the actual owner of Fatima Mahal, a heritage property passed on by her grandfather to her father and by her father to herself.

Mirza lives with the solemn dream of owning the aforementioned property one day. Thus he constantly wishes for the Begum to die her natural death, given her age and state of mind and health.

Three of the aforesaid four tenants pay him a measly rent of Rs. 70/-. But the fourth tenant, Baankey Rustogi (Ayushmann Khurana) who stays with his widow mother and three sisters, pays him only Rs. 30/- and that too not on time!

Miffed with the ridiculously low rent, Mirza wishes for all the tenants to evacuate the premises of Fatima Mahal and constantly invents pranks, so as to disturb them enough to leave his abode. In fact the movie starts with Mirza stealing Baankey’s light bulb.

Alongside, Mirza also indulges in hush-hush selling of Fatima Mahal’s interior decoration items.

One day at Fatima Mahal, during a scuffle for using the common toilet, Baankey kicks it’s wall in anger, causing a big gaping hole in the wall.

Since, neither Mirza nor the tenants are ready to pay for the repair of the wall, they
try to seek the assistance of different authorities and personnels, ultimately ending up into the clutches of a lawyer (Bijendra Kala) and an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officer, Gyanesh Mitra (Vijay Raaj).

From here starts the greed filled endeavours of all concerned.

Mirza privately contacts the lawyer to facilitate evacuation of all of his tenants and they set onto a journey to establish Mirza as the sole owner of the concerned property.

The lawyer alongside works for a wealthy bigshot to get him Fatima Mahal as soon as possible, in lieu of only 5% of it’s actual price to Mirza!

The ASI officer starts his series of investigation, so that he can declare Fatima Mahal as an old heritage property, so as to evacuate everyone and hand it over to a minister for his personal use! For smooth evacuation, he false promises all the tenants a LIG flat in return.

All the concerned forces spring into action and employ all their tricks and treats, only to get a surprise of their lives in the end.

Watch the movie to see the surprise and other nitty gritty that lead to it.

Analysis

Exploring an interesting subject with an altogether new treatment, Gulabo Sitabo is a well made film with witty remarks, correct dialect and perfect body language.

The unsaid spine of the film is Fatima Mahal, which must have seen generations of greed and usurping tendencies and even in it’s dilapidated condition is stronger and sturdier than the beings inhabiting it.

Juhi Chaturvedi has beautifully penned the entire tale giving a full view of assorted greed, but each character has been so humanely portrayed that you don’t end up holding against any of them.

Expectantly, Shoojit Sircar’s direction comprises of fine nuances and detailing. He has well grasped both the ambiance and pulse of the story.

The prosthetic  used on Amitabh Bachchan are relatively much better than what we usually see on the Indian screen. Hats off to this legend and senior actor for trying out such physically demanding roles.

Both him and Ayushmann Khurana have acted with perfection and carried off the entire film sans any glamour or heroine. The best part is that none of them ever tries to be heroic or over powering. They have simply surrendered to their respective characters, both of which are stubborn, eccentric and constantly mocked at.

Given that she is a much junior actor, Srishti Shrivastava has quite well held on to her bullish character of Guddo, one of Baankey’s sister.

Vijay Raaz, Bijendra Kala and other actors have also performed well.

Now the question arises that who is/are Gulabo Sitabo? Well, they are two puppets who are at constant loggerheads. They appear in the beginning of the film, in the middle of the film and also at the end of the film. They kind of set the mood of constant state of difference between two entities.

Gulabo Sitabo is an intelligent satire with surprising climax and a message that greed leads to defeat and loneliness. It’s an easy paced engaging film but not an entertainer.

Prity Poddar is the leading vegetarian Food Blogger of Kolkata. She pens her food posts

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