Readers Write In #212: Gulabo Sitabo highlights the hypocrisy of mankind

Posted on June 25, 2020

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(by Carlos Luis)

In the song ‘do din ka ye mela‘ Dinesh Pant reminds us that life is a two-day fair and it has to go on. Life is an amalgamation of happy and sad moments. It has its own bitter and sweet stories to narrate.

The movie Gulabo Sitabo presents the uncertainty of life and the inevitability of death. Isn’t it funny that despite knowing this fact of life we crave for more? Our desires double as life happens. Chunnan ‘Mirza’ Nawab (Amitabh Bachchan) is the unapologetic unbridled character that presents pleonexia. Mirza, from the time of his marriage till his wife Fatima Begum (Farrukh Jaffar) elopes with her lover Abdul Rehman, loves and has an insatiable desire for the age-old Fatima Mahal, a mansion in Lucknow.

Mirza steals his tenant Baankey Rastogi’s (Ayushmann Khurrana) lightbulbs and sells. Gulabo and Sitabo that they are, fight on every single thing. Baankey who lives with his mother and three sisters pays the rent of only Rs. 30 per month with much reluctance. Mirza even charges him for parking his bike, which obviously, he does not pay. On repeated occasions, Mirza hints that he and his family have grabbed the room in the mansion. Mirza sells the chandelier without anyone knowing, and at the teasing of Baankey he digs the ground in search of gold. Influenced by his friend Pandey ji (Prakash Bajpai), Mirza wants to transfer the ownership of the mansion to his name. His consistent prayers are for the death of his begum, which is quite evident in his dialogues. He does everything possible to grab that which is legally owned by Fatima Begum.

Fatima Begum is pretentious and does not give a clue of what she is going to do next. But what she does blows off both Gulabo and Sitabo. Baankey could pay the rent easily, as he was earning from his wheat mill shop, but he is a complain box, who doesn’t want to pay. He complains about the lack of maintenance of the dilapidated mansion and about his sisters who have been promoted to higher classes in education. There is a reiteration of his illiteracy in the movie. Baankey is a humbug who reveals to the world around him that he knows and understands the workings surrounding him. He understands very little, and therefore, Gyanesh Shukla (Vijay Raaz) fools him.

Gyanesh being a trickster fools Baankey, Mirza, and Guddo (Srishti Shrivastava), drawing information and proof from them, but revealing nothing about his upcoming plans. Baankey is promised alternate housing, but only later does he come to know that it was a bogus assurance. Each of the tenants who lived at the mansion paid rent less than the market rate, but they expected the owner to respect their rights. The women characters are stronger and less hypocritical; though at times seem to be supporting the male characters pleasing the script.

Fatima Begum, in the end, proves that she is powerful and can swim against the storm created by Gulabo and Sitabo. She is confident and ready to put her foot down but at the right time. Baankey’s three sisters are straight forward in expressing what they feel. Guddo is a fighter, independent, decisive, and emotionally stable. She braves every front with great poise.

Vinod Dubey in his song, ‘kya leke aayo jagme, kya leke jayega’ poses a rhetorical question as to what have we come to the earth with and what will we take along. Interestingly nothing of what we possess we can carry along with us. We will leave it all here for posterity. Therefore it is best to be real then hypocritical.