Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo On Amazon Prime: The (too) carefully curated mood feels tonally off with this material

Posted on June 25, 2020

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The film feels like an anecdote stretched into a novel. By the end, the loose plot does come together, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been worth this kind of build-up.

Spoilers ahead…

What a curious film this is! There’s, first, the tone. The story begins with the friction between Mirza Sheikh (Amitabh Bachchan), who manages his wife’s crumbling haveli in Lucknow, and a cussed tenant named Baankey Rastogi (Ayushmann Khurrana). The latter lives with his mother and sisters in a small space whose rent has stayed the same since he was a baby. Mirza wants to earn more from all his tenants, and as “revenge”, he steals their light bulbs and bicycle bells and sells them for loose change. There’s a downbeat, Dickensian air to this greedy man, to whom money means everything. His kurta-pyjama set seems to have been stitched during the Sepoy Mutiny, and he walks with a stoop in a way that suggests he’d rather walk with that stoop than shell out cash for a doctor’s services.

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