Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Srishti Srivastava, Farrukh Jafar
After his successful collaboration with Ayushmann in 'Vicky Donor' (2012) and Amitabh Bachchan in 'Piku' (2015), Shoojit Sircar brings them both together for his latest quirky, slice-of-life drama Gulabo Sitabo.
Inspired by a pair of folk puppets, and set in Lucknow, the film is Sircar's first attempt at satirical and witty sparring between a landlord and his tenant, Gulabo Sitabo takes us into the life of a man struggling to throw his tenant out of his property. Bachchan plays the old landlord Mirza, while Ayushmann donnes the role of a frustrated yet egoistic tenant Baanke.
The story of Gulabo Sitabo revolves around the "priceless" dilapidated haveli of Lucknow, Fatima Mahal. The landlord Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan) and tenant Baankey (Ayushmann Khurrana) are at constant tussle-all due to this charming haveli. Their fight and disagreement aren't just limited to bickering. They don't hesitate to resort to planning and plotting against each other for Fatima Mahal.
Situational comedy, well-delivered lives and a convincing rapport between the two leads there are some of the things that are not found anywhere here. Gulabo Sitabo's trailer had promised a much-needed comic relief but the film fails to stand up to even 10% of what the trailer was. Dialogues are the biggest losers here as they fail to portray the cultural milieu (Lucknowi Zabaan) even as close as acceptable. Director Shoojit Sircar has done a fabulous job in the past but sometimes you cannot repeat the past and that is what has happened this time.
The screenplay is the biggest disappointment as the slow pace hampers the viewers' experience due to the sluggishness of the story killing your interest in the first half itself and after some time the film becomes irritating, really irritating.
The first half is dragged and fails to keep you hooked at times and tt is only in the second half that the movie picks up pace. The cinematography is fine and the artistic details of the old haveli have been captured beautifully by Avik Mukhopadhyay.
Amitabh Bachan as Mirza is grouchy and shrewd yet hilarious. He plays the character with absolute comfort. His flawless body language- the way he walks, the never-smiling face, sparkling eyes, and the energy, draws your sympathy but at the same time annoys you too something which is the mark of the Shehanshah and acting prowess.
Ayushmaan Khurrana as Baankey has tried his best to do justice to his character. He dives deep into the character of a man with lots of responsibilities in a lower-middle-class family in Uttar Pradesh and the best thing about him here is his everlasting chocolate boy charm.
Besides the lead, the film boasts of a strong supporting cast that includes Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Poornima Sharma, Shrishti Shrivastava, and Farrukh Jafar who try their best to lift the film up throughout the runtime but all in vain.
Juhi Chaturvedi's story was supposed to be intelligent, witty and funny but the sluggish screenplay prevents it from becoming what it could have been. Shantanu Moitra's songs are average and blend in ok with the narrative.
Overall, Gulabo Sitabo is a failed attempt at satirical and realistic comedy-drama. Shoojit sircar has failed in bringing up what he had envisioned in his mind, to the screen and it is disappointing. Still, it has some twists & turns that make you laugh at points and Amitabh and Ayushmann's performance is the best thing here so if you want to watch this one, watch only for them otherwise you will be disappointed.