Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Srishti Shrivastava, Farrukh Jaffar Director: Shoojit Sircar Amazon Prime India release date: June 12 Genre: Drama Certification: 16+ Language: Hindi Duration: 2 hours, 5 mins
“Gulabo Sitabo… is about a past that is fast fading, a present that is shrouded in uncertainty, and a future that seems unlikely to yield any dividends for those that have no control over the changing times. A real-life puppeteer (Mohammed Naushad) performs at different points in the film. He is a metaphor for men on strings. He is also an exponent of a centuries-old form that is dying. His presence enhances the earthiness of the film.”
“Juhi Chaturvedi’s screenplay is pitched as a gentle and picaresque comedy, but there are strains of despair in this saga of Mirza vs The Rest of the World… The jokes are cruel, the character sketches pitiless… Mirza crawls about Lucknow in a crab-like fashion, but Bachchan ensures that the character is all too human in his Quixotic quest.”
“There is magic in the way Amitabh Bachchan falls… This is a Wodehouse-ean touch…. So good is the actor that twice I caught myself fearing for both character and performer. This is more than a fall — it is a crumpling. The man collapses like a pile of cards that was once a house…. His mastery lies in the gracelessness he gives the character, moving in jerky fits and starts, a clockwork eccentric wound-up either too much, or not nearly enough… This is not a Bachchan you know… This is a film about the pointlessness of hoarded fortune, the transactional nature of marriage… It is also, sneakily and slyly, a story of love. Gulabo Sitabo shows us that all a romance needs — like a neglected city, or a once-princely mansion — to come back to life is to be reminded what it once used to be. Some things are worth falling for.”
“A feel good laugh out loud comedy… on the futility of attachments and running behind the eventually inconsequential things for a lifetime. Life is often about its nothingness and a goose chase to feed our desires, and the whole pointlessness of the entire journey and its disappointment… establishes the pointless bickering of puppets about things that are not in their control… Mirza has a fetish to sell off bulbs and chandeliers specifically in order to force others into darkness… The camera of Avik Mukhopadhyay possibly loves the haveli more than any other character of the film and captures its creaking agony.”
“Sircar’s storytelling is meditative in nature, his trademark pensiveness and enigma envelop Gulabo Sitabo and yet, leaves ample space for wit and oddity… At the end of the day, this is Bachchan’s film… Told unhurriedly and wistfully, Sircar’s drama and humour pauses and pontificates almost privately. It is a tad infuriating because you crave access… The aftermath of sadness it leaves behind comes from a place of truth.”
“Tests our patience and preconceived notions of storytelling… an adventure of reiterative tropes. For nearly two hours, the plot goes round and round in mischievous circles, till we virtually crave for a payoff, a method to all the madness. The back and forth made me wonder: What’s the point? Is there a point at all?… In its final moments, pays poignant dividends… The twist of Gulabo Sitabo is solely designed to humanize oldness. It’s designed to remind people on both sides of the screen that the world is so obsessed with assigning an inanimate value to age and experience that it forgets how the corresponding person—with attachments, desires and regrets—is priceless. And alive, beyond a body of sagging flesh and brittle bones.”
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