Gulabo Sitabo Review: Amitabh Bachchan is Really a Hoot, Ayushmann Khurrana manages to hit the Right Notes
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Gulabo Sitabo Movie Cast:
Amitabh Bachchan as Mirza Sheikh
Ayushmann Khurrana as Baankey Rastogi
Farrukh Jafar as Begum
Vijay Raaz as Government officer, Gyanesh Shukla
Shrishti Shrivastava as Guddo
Brijendra Kala as Lawyer, Christopher Clark
Director: Shoojit Sircar
The Gulabo Sitabo storyline, as all the advertising material had told us, has two poles. One, a stingy, 78-year-old ‘keeper’ of a Lucknow haveli of undetermined origin. The other, an especially intransigent occupant, agreed not to leave the premises whatever could happen. They ‘re squabbling all the time. It’s not a pretty sight. But it’s funny all right, particularly when composing is laced with wacky wit.
The two main characters of the wonderfully astounding Gulabo Sitabo are always at odds with reality, but the trait they share-the the selfish love of the crumbling Fatima Mahal, the seed mansion-constitutes the spine of the story.
The greatest part about Gulabo Sitabo, planned in advance by Juhi Chaturvedi, is that he’s not trying to be a scream. Humor comes from the vocabulary and the manner in which it is presented. You ‘re not going to have to roll on the floor. And every time Mirza (Bachchan) and Baankey Rastogi (Ayushmann Khurrana) get a go at each other about petty topics that slowly snowball out of control.
Gulabo Sitabo-the name is a nod to a kind of classical glove puppetry native to Uttar Pradesh for which a man’s harried wife (Sitabo) and his coddled mistress (Gulabo) bicker endlessly-is about a rapidly fading past, a present wrapped in confusion, and a future that seems unlikely to pay a dividend to those who have no command over cultural changes.
The sights and sounds of the city and the Haveli, both the exterior and its crumbling interiors, filmed evocatively in daylight and dimly lit night shots by filmmaker Avik Mukhopadhyay, are a critical presence that helps to describe the outlines of the drama. Editor Chandrashekhar Prajapati, too, receives the staccato rhythmic patterns of the position right-it ‘s a city highly variable between unhurried pace and sudden bursts of the task.
Amitabh Bachchan is a hoot and a quarter like Mirza, a person who is clearly weighted down by time but declines to renounce the universe. The veteran actor is just like a master mostly on Stradivarius, hitting the good technique with every single flick. Ayushmann Khurrana, too, coaxes the right tone from the feckless Baankey, who removes his inadequacy with the cultured air of nonchalance. He brings a personality alive that you can’t but take care of.
Gulabo Sitabo has a bit mixed bag, but it has an out-of-the-ordinary veneer because of the way it moves on the quirky idea, its small idiosyncratic loops, the cadences and two wonderful stars in Lucknow ‘s language.