Shoojit Sircar directed ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ is a satirical drama written by Juhi Chaturvedi, with Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurana in the lead roles. This movie is a bitter-sweet tale of two greedy, middle-class men, and their common love for an old Haveli. The story of Gulabo Sitabo revolves around a centuries-old crumbling Haveli in Lucknow, called Fatima Mahal, and a bunch of crazy people trying to get their hands on it. The title of the film is inspired by a traditional puppet show of Uttar Pradesh, based on two women- Gulabo and Sitabo, who constantly bicker and squabble with each other. This title perfectly represents the continuous in-conflict relationship of a grumpy landlord- Mirza, and his arrogant tenant- Baankey.
Mirza, played by Amitabh Bachchan, is a 78-year-old grumpy, greedy, and irritable man, who is desperately waiting for his wife to die so that he can inherit her desiccating Haveli. Baankey, played by Ayushmann, is one of Mirza’s tenants, who lives in a room in the Haveli with his mother and three younger sisters. He is mostly irritated and angry because of the lack of money in his life, and his so-called landlord makes his life a lot worse with his nagging and bickering.
Mirza and Baankey fight and argue constantly. Both of them are equally annoyed with each other and are always at each other’s throats. Mirza badly wants to get rid of Baankey, who hasn’t paid his rent in three months, while Baankey stays adamant about not leaving the Haveli. Mirza sells Baankey’s bulbs, fights with his sister over mangoes, and in retaliation, Baankey moves Mirza’s bed in the middle of the street while he is fast asleep. Their arguments and squabbles, with the touch of Lucknow slangs, provides for a good laugh in the film. The story takes an interesting turn when a spat over a broken wall leads to some major disaster, and soon, a scheming archeologist and a cunning lawyer get added to the equation.
A disappointing aspect of the film is its slow pace. It takes time for the viewers to build a connection with the characters and to truly understand their motives and intentions. But the film gradually picks up pace as it moves towards its conclusion. The ending is simple yet touching, and it leaves you wondering whether you are supposed to feel happy or sad.
Apart from Mirza and Baankey, few other characters bring life to the film. Shrishti Shrivastava perfectly plays the role of Baankeys’ sharp-witted sister- Gudoo, who helps her naive brother in understanding the reality of their situation. Veteran actor Brijendra Kala’s role of a cunning, devious lawyer from Lucknow, adds much-needed spark to the film. Vijay Raaz also gives a brilliant performance in his role as a scheming, self-centered archeologist, whose sole purpose is to get hold of the Haveli. However, it is Farrukh Jafar’s character of the 95-year-old begum of the Haveli that steals the show.
Amitabh Bachchan is hands down the star of this film. With a prosthetic nose and oversized glasses, he completely transforms into the grumpy old landlord. It is astonishing to see him playing such brilliant characters at this age. While his character is highly irritable and hard-to-like, Amitabh’s acting still somehow makes you empathize with his character. Ayushmann Khurana also gives a brilliant performance. He yet again proves why he is considered one of the finest actors of today’s generation.
The movie brilliantly captures the beauty of Lucknow. In many scenes, you can see Lucknow’s architectural buildings in the background. This film has captured some wonderful visuals of the city of Nawabs. Set decoration is another thing to be appreciated in this film. Attention has been given to the finest of details while displaying the centuries-old desiccating and crumbling Haveli around which the film revolves.
Gulabo Sitabo is a sweet, simple story that will provide you with good entertainment. It is not a comedic masterpiece, but it does include some laughter-inducing scenes. The film may not have a long-lasting impact, but it will leave a warm feeling in your heart. It is an enjoyable film that will make you smile, laugh, and sympathize with the main characters. it is a light-hearted one time watch available on amazon prime.