Streaming now on Amazon Prime
Shoojit Sircar’s recent film Gulabo Sitabo is inspired by the art of puppet theatre, which originated in Uttar Pradesh. The show consists of two puppets – Gulabo and Sitabo – the wife and mistress of the same man, and follows their constant bickering over domestic matters. Similar is the story of Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan), the caretaker of an old haveli in Lucknow, and Baankey (Ayushmann Khurrana), his tenant. While Mirza cannot wait to be rid of the haveli, it is under the ownership of his much-senior wife and he cannot seem to get her signature on the property papers. Meanwhile, Baankey is not one to leave the haveli without a fight either. Adding to the mix is the property agent Christopher (Brijendra Kala) who wishes to sell the house to a wealthy builder and Gyanesh (Vijay Raaz), a government officer who wishes to procure the property for archeological research. All eyes are on the haveli and while each one’s greed gets the better of the other, the final outcome is entirely unexpected.
Laced with local humor and salacious jokes
Much like the art of Gulabo Sitabo itself, Shoojit Sircar’s film uses comedy to represent the day-to-day struggles of its characters who cannot seem to live with or without each other. They’re alike in more ways than one, especially in their attempts of one-upmanship, in which the movie pulls its greatest source of humor. The story and dialogues are cleverly written by ace screenwriter Juhi Chaturvedi and retain the local flavor of UP. The story slowly unravels its characters’ grasping greed and ultimately teaches a lesson on how it can get the better of us.
A double dose of entertainment
Gulabo Sitabo brings together two of the industry’s best mainstream talents for the first time. Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana are major screen stealers and find the right balance in making an impression while not having the viewer deviate from the larger point of the story. Their chemistry is off the charts, especially in the scenes when one is trying to pull a fast one on the other. The actors are ably supported by Brijendra Kala and Vijay Raaz who are just as good in their smaller but prominent roles while Farrukh Jaffer as Begum clinches the climax scene for her own baller act.
Refocuses on the dying art of puppet theatre
Glove puppetry is on its way to becoming an extinct art form and Gulabo Sitabo, which finds its roots back in the 1700s, has lost much of its significance. The film includes a puppeteer who not only begins the story but makes several recurring appearances throughout the narrative, running parallel to the plot unraveling around the haveli. His dolls Gulabo and Sitabo can be seen decked in colorful clothes and trinkets while he is seated on the floor, narrating their story like an acapella performance.
WATCH OR NOT:
Gulabo Sitabo makes for a fun one-time watch and can be best enjoyed with family. The actors have an excellent rapport that makes the film entertaining while the narrative leaves us with a bittersweet message at the end.
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Writer: Juhi Chaturvedi
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala
Streaming on: Amazon Prime