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Gulabo Sitabo Film Review: A simple story of greed which is both enjoyable and frustrating.

Aakash Mishra

You will definitely enjoy the fight between both the leads but you will also be frustrated and try to figure out what’s the point of this film? There aren’t any great themes lying as the subtext of the film.

Amazon Prime’s Gulabo Sitabo tries to search its soul in the broken walls of a dilapidated mansion but shines only when the two leads fight with each other.

The film starts with Mirza secretly stealing a bulb and then selling it the next day. Soon, we come to know Mirza ( Amitabh Bachchan)  does this all the time to one of his tenant Baankey (Ayushmann Khurana). There is a cat – mouse chase going on between both of them all the time. Baankey neither vacates his home nor pays rent on time. He gives only 30 rupees as a monthly rent while others pay close to 70. Soon, the mansion gets discovered by one of the people from the Archaeology department of the government.

This movie is based on an age old moral story of greed. Greed is a constant member of the hearts of all the characters in the movie. You will definitely enjoy the fight between both the leads but you will also be frustrated and try to figure out what’s the point of this film? There aren’t any great themes lying as the subtext of the film. The film is all about enjoying the eccentricities of various characters with various mixtures of modern and traditional languages at play. Lucknowi accent is delivered with utmost authenticity but it isn’t a necessary dialect adopted by each and every character. The mansion is also playing an important role, it’s constantly depreciated either by the tenants or the owner and literally everyone is fighting over it. The film has a slow pace and the leads follow constant patterns but you can overlook this pace by putting your interest in the constant rivalry between both of them.

At times, the film does look like an emotional letter to the fading side of a city. An ancient land embracing the modern culture and slowly becoming another prey of capitalism. The main owner of the Fatima Palace –  Fatima Begum ( wife of Mirza) is enjoying the time of her life, trying new hairstyles, dying her hair, etc. But, his husband is busy finding ways to assure that he becomes the sole owner of the mansion and nothing interferes with his dream of having the love of his life. The film is quietly funny, there isn’t a constant flow of laughs, there are just small moments to laugh in the routine lives of characters which aren’t inherently good or worth rooting for. It’s more of an October than Pink showing the undying love of a man towards a mansion, he originally wedded to. Be it for any reason because even when he isn’t in it, he is carrying a balloon that was pasted on the gates of the mansion.

Avik Mukhopadhyay’s cinematography is well-polished. There are always some items lying around which come with a certain set of nostalgia. Shoojit Sircar and Juhi Chaturvedi are able to create a perfect atmosphere with dialogues and intricate details about Lucknow. Women in the film aren’t given regular, rigid patterns to follow. They are bold and act according to their self-interest be it Fauzia ( Baankey’s love affair ) or  Guddo (Baankey’s sister). Performances by Amitabh Bachan with a protruding nose is satisfying. Ayushmann is always reliable. Even, the rest of the cast including an amazing Vijay Raaz does a brilliant job in carrying out their performances. The music or even the background score fails to impress.

Overall, Gulabo Sitabo is a fun ride when the characters are in battle other than that it’s a  pretty simple same old tale of how greed destroys everything. Stephen Hawking says ” We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity” and that’s kind of the whole point of the film.

FINAL VERDICT: Enjoyable and frustrating, isn’t as good as expected.

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