Gulabo Sitabo is the first big-budget Bollywood film that opted for a digital release over theatrical owing to the shutdown of theatres and multiplexes due to COVID-19 lockdown.
The movie has been directed by Shoojit Sircar and penned by Juhi Chaturvedi. This movie revolves around an old unmaintained mansion house owned by a 95-year old woman, Fatima Begum (Farrukh Jafar) and her husband Mirza Sheikh (Amitabh Bachchan) who looks after the estate.
Irked by the torture of tenants in the building, Mirza tries to transfer the ownership of the house to his name and vacate all the tenants.
Baankey Rastogi, (Ayushmann Khurrana) who claims that his family are tenants in the house for over 7 decades tries to secure his family’s position in the house. He meets a government officer (Vijay Raaz) who assures that the property will be taken over by govt as it is ancient with some compensation to tenants.
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Meanwhile, Mirza too tries to seek legal action and hires a lawyer (Brijendra Kala). As the movie progress, we see who wins the battle to secure their rights over the house.
A puppeteer plays an important role as he sings a folk song between two wives of a family “Gulabo-Sitabo” who fight between each other. Juhi metaphorically connects the fight between them with the clash between Mirza and Baankey.
In his second collocation with Shoojit Sircar after Piku, the 77-year-old Amitabh Bachchan, seamlessly showcase a struggling old man with desire to own the house. From his body language to his appearance, he breathes the character throughout the movie in every movie.
Farrukh Jafar as a 95-year-old woman plays an important role in the movie. Even though she is less spoken, Begum carries her attitude as an owner throughout the movie and her screen presence takes the story forward.
Ayushmann Khurrana as Baankey Rastogi who is well known for his unique roles in previous movies, portrays poverty and lack of education in his roles. His character plays an important role in the movie, but the charisma he carries in his previous movies like Vicky Donor or Badhai Ho is missing in this movie.
There are many actors in the movie who fill the comedy aspect of the movie, however, the characterization and their coherence with the plot is missing.
One of the main aspects of the film is the falling mansion house itself, which is captured beautifully by Avik Mukhopadhyay. We loved the way the pulse of Lucknow – be it the lanes, streets, chariots, pulled rickshaws captured in the movie.
Shantanu Moitra gave the background score of the movie also composed the songs along with Anuj Garg, and Abhishek Arora. We loved songs in the film which captures the flavor of Lucknow and explains the character of Mirza.
With a run time of over 2 hours, Gulabo Sitabo takes time to make the story more concrete. Shoojit Sircar’s movie is slow paced. Unlike Piku or October, which moves in one direction, the narrative od Gulabo Sitabo deviates in different directions.
This movie acts as a metaphor mirror reflecting age, greed, and desire to win. The ending of the movie is surprisingly interesting and has a suspense element to it.
Watch this movie for Amitabh Bachchan’s brilliance!
You can stream this on Amazon Prime Video.