Amazon Prime’s latest Hindi film “Gulabo Sitabo” is a social satire hitting hard on human nature and how our greed drives us to unexpected and unfortunate consequences.
Directed by Shoojit Sircar, while most of us would like to watch the film for its stellar cast, including Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, it is the story written by Juhi Chaturvedi that will charm you with exceptional characters and dialogues.
Here is the trailer for ‘Gulabo Sitabo’
‘Gulabo Sitabo’ – Story
Based on Lucknow, Gulabo Sitabo follows an old and grumpy Mirza Chunnan Nawab (Amitabh Bachchan) who stays in a decaying mansion ‘Fatima Mahal’ along with his wife Begum Fatto, who is the actual owner. The century-old haveli (house) is also occupied by a few tenants, who offer a meager amount of rent of Rs. 30 to 70. One of the tenants is Baankey Rastogi (Ayushmann Khurrana) who has not paid rent for a few months and often in conflict with Mirza.
As Mirza wants to throw each tenant out of the haveli to realize his unfulfilled desire of owning the mansion, Baankey rushes to the police station to settle the matter. However, their interim agreement does no good, as one local officer of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Gyanesh Mishra (Vijay Raaz), sees value in the old building in converting it to a heritage property (probably only for his vested interest).
While Mirza takes the help of a lawyer Christopher Clark (Brijendra Kala), Baankey sees opportunity in teaming up with the officer in the archaeological department. In the end, we see the old crumbling mansion must see yet another day of survival as all the selfish characters onscreen fight with each other only to be left with loneliness and grief. Yes, the climax of ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ is surprising and not in line with average Hindi films.
Direction, characterization, and performance
Director Shoojit Sircar (Piku, October, Vicky Donor) is right on the job when it comes to characterization and the overall narration. The script and dialogues of ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ are perfect to keep the humor alive amid a melancholic setup when we think about the condition of poor people and their everyday struggles. Eventually, what started as a comedy goes on to show some unpleasant sides of human nature.
The director’s vision is well-supported by amazing performances by its cast. While the veteran Bollywood star stands tall behind the prosthetic as the greedy landlord, Khurrana ably matches his talent and once again proved to be the versatile actors of the new age Indian cinema.
Also, other actors delivered captivating performances. Srishti Shrivastava, as Baankey’s sister Guddo, wonderfully played the role with such magnetism that we do not realize that she is not one of the central characters. All credit goes to the writing that gives enough space to even the tiniest of characters.
Moreover, the mansion in itself is a character and so does the city Lucknow. While it would be difficult for non-Hindi speakers to get the essence of humorous dialogues, the images play a key part in the narration. From the wide-angle shorts of the city, the narrow lanes, the old Mughal gate to the dilapidated mansion, and interiors, everything adds to the old world charm, and ultimately the message that nothing is here to live for long, and our greed will never land us in a better place.
What about the title of the film “Gulabo Sitabo”?
This is an interesting choice of name as it is derived from a traditional puppet art in which two characters of the name Gulabo and Sitabo continuously quarrel with each other. Likewise, in the film, we see the two central characters Mirza and Baankey are constantly at loggerheads.
‘Gulabo Sitabo’ Movie – Additional Details
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Written by Juhi Chaturvedi
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Farrukh Jafar, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Srishti Shrivastava
Cinematography: Avik Mukhopadhyay
Release Date/Year: 12 June 2020
Streaming on: Amazon Prime