New Delhi Amid the noise of cinematic lockout and the growing popularity of OTT platforms in the Corona era, the Shoojit government-directed ‘Gulabo Sitabou’ was released on Amazon Prime Video with subtitles in 15 languages in 200 countries.
‘Gulabo Sitabo’ will be remembered in Indian cinema for being the first film to hit theaters directly on the mobile screen. However, despite Amitabh Bachchan’s excellent performance, he will not be included in the list of his memorable films.
The film’s story revolves around Mirza, a 78-year-old greedy, quarrelsome, stingy and irritable person, whose life lives in that mansion. However, the mansion is the ancestral property of Mirza’s wife Fatima. That is why its name is Fatima Mahal. Mirza is not only greedy either. Steals the old things of the mansion for money. He is waiting for Fatima to die 17 years older than herself so that she can find the mansion.
The years-old shabby haveli houses many tenants, one of whom is Banke Rastogi. Banke lives in the mansion with his mother and three sisters. Has read till the sixth and runs the flour mill shop. Banke falls in love with a girl, pushing for marriage. Mirza does not like Banke at all. Finds new ways to harass her and wants to evict the mansion.
Writer Juhi Chaturvedi has spent a large part of the film on the plight of these two. However, after a period of time, this tussle starts to seem dull and boring. The twist in the story comes when Mirza, along with a lawyer, prepares to sell the mansion to the builder.
On the other hand, Banke plans to hand it over to the Archaeological Department by meeting an officer of the Department of Archeology under the greed of the LIG flat. But one of Begum’s bets hurts the plans of both of them and both have to leave the mansion.
Amitabh Bachchan has been lengthened with prosthetic make-up to make Mirza. Loose kurta and pajamas have been worn. The head has been given round cap and the eyes have thick lens glasses. For the role of 78-year-old Mirza, Amitabh walks down his waist.
It is not a challenge to play such a character for Amitabh, who is called the great hero of the century. The challenge lies in front of the writer and director. Shujit could not handle this challenge properly this time. Mirza’s character seems to have faded from Bhaskar Banerjee of ‘Piku’ despite the right getup, make-up and precise body gesture.
At the same time, Ayushman Khurana has worn dirty clothes to play the role of a beau of lower middle class family. Have taken a little belly. Ayushmann has also changed his accent. Amitabh and Ayushmann’s dapper-like performances have saved many scenes from piling up. Srishti Shravastava, Vijay Raaz and Brijendra Kala seem to fit their respective characters.
The glamorous Lucknow had no place in the film’s story, so cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay has captured the old parts of Lucknow in a camera on the best. Shantanu Moitra’s background score is simple.
How is the film
Shoojit, who directed Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Piku’ and Ayushman Khurana in ‘Vicky Donor’, dagged in ‘Gulabo Sitabo’. Despite being with both actors, the film is much weaker than Vicky Donor and Piku.
The final scene of the climax of ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ actually gets itself reviewed by the film. In the last scene, it is shown that the antique chair that Mirza sells from Haveli for Rs. 250, is put in the show room to be sold on the same chair with a tag of Rs.1,35,000. The message is clear, if you do not value things, then things also do not appreciate you. After the film is over, it comes to mind that Amitabh is the same ‘antique chair’ and Shoojit Sarkar ‘Mirza’.
Artists – Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushman Khurana, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Srishti Srivastava etc.
Director- Shujit Sarkar
Producer- Ronnie Lahiri, Sheel Kumar
Verdict – ** 1/2 (two and a half stars)