Readers Write In #237: If only feel goods feel this good (‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’)

Posted on August 4, 2020


(by Vikram MN)

Wikipedia describes it a ‘Slice of life film’, a term I have never heard of, but has a nice tinge to it and in a way describes the whole film. It’s not an easy thing to make a feel-good film without feeling guilty of compromising something just for the sake of making a feel-good film. ‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’ is an uncompromisingly feel good film, which is a rarity. Very few films can uncompromisingly hold true to its genre, like ‘Before Sunrise’ for Love story, ‘It’s a wonderful life’ for feel goods etc. This has to be one such movie.Also, the metro feel of Mumbai gives a great vibe to films where the place wasn’t overtly romanticized but just given the right flavor so that one feels like they really live there. Something which ‘May Maadham’ did to perfection.

Quite recently I watched ‘Karwaan’ which was more widely known as a feel-good film but even though it was good, it didn’t feel wholesome. ‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’ does, right from scene one. Set in Mumbai, we see a bunch of people commenting on a rag picker and a dog. What feels like a hard-hitting film with the initial shot, moves on like a breeze, post that single shot. The commentators for the scene are a bunch of people who go out on Sunday to play football. They bump into (literally) an old man who doesn’t look quite normal. But as he looks keen to play football, the good guy of the gang, as he claims to be, Arjun (Barun Sobti) takes him too to play football,only to be chucked out of the beach, as the old man Ranganathan (Shiv Kumar Subramaniam) knocks out the president of Juhu beach association.

Each one from their gang are unique characters and everyone of them is charming. Firstly Arjun, someone whom I personally could connect with. Without even any explanation he comes out as a cool carefree guy (something which Karthik Kumar of Evam does so well), who’s not attached to anything. Someone who has quit the job and likes relaxing better than anything. His first conversation with his sister is a gem. The whole setting of his brother in law in play station, his sister annoying the little kid about skating class, the sofa, feels like a stage play, as if we’re watching from within the TV. It was an elaborate set piece with great eye for details. Similarly, at Kavya’s (Shahana Goswami) place where he explains the reason for his transformation, is another great setting. Even though the funny flashback was out of place for the movie, it still was funny. What would have been better is to have not had any flashback at all.

The other characters too have a story of their own and it comes out at various junctures. Rashid (Avinash Tiwary) is a womanizer who ends up liking his neighbor at last. Again, a flashback we don’t really need, to empathize with his character, but still nothing to complain. Mehernosh (Nakul Bhalla) is a frustrated individual whose best time pass is to write letters to his annoying manager, a character in the line of ‘Karwaan’ and somewhere it also has a ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ vibe to it, like the Liquid and Charu’s love story. It gave a feel like ending up as a soup story but thankfully, turned out to be different. The dinner scene where she gives him a card, with him asking her out, the disappointment when she says she couldn’t make it and then the elation when she says she could, the day after, in all is a great sequence.That little scene could be cut out and made into an ad.

Dominic’s (Vishal Malhotra) story has a slight melodrama but doesn’t go overboard apart from her mother’s antics. The Anglo-Indianflavor was superbly brought out (is it Pork Xacuti which Dominic lays hands in their kitchen), something which ‘Hey Jude’ or even ‘Finding Fanny’ couldn’t fully bring it out. May be ‘David’ was the only movie which gave so much thought to the culture. Rest all, including ‘Aadukalam’ uses it only as a gimmick. Even though this movie has to balance between making you feel sad but stop before the tear glands secrete tears, the scene where he cries in his mother’s lap, brings a lump in our throat. But thanks to the editor, the scene wasn’t elongated, thus letting us know the intention of director clearly.

The least talked (read as thought) about Jayesh (Jay Upadhyay) is someone who’s character is most depressing, at least from a third man’s point of view, even though the other characters are disappointed at their own self, they at least have age to their advantage, but look at Jayesh, the very thought of him depressing. Of course, it’s not given a serious tone and make us feel not so bad but to really think of a middle-aged man stuck in a family limbo with nowhere else to go is a such a sorry state of affair. Imagine going to office on a Sunday to escape family. I’m sure the feel would give chills to a lot of men out there.

The way their backstories come to fore, even though not really necessary, had been shot beautifully. Even though it happens in all of the movies, the liquor sequence (more fondly a TASMAC scene) is one such gem. It’s so nice to see an IIM grad, a wealthy businessman and a couple of not so big shot people, all drinking in a dingy bar. And all of them don’t have any complaints about their social stature. Neither do they feel inferior or superior around them. They whine only about their life; they don’t wish they’re like others in their gang. They know that the problem would still remain intact, even if they have other people’s life. Just like how Mehernosh describes in the burst-out scene. Look how well it ends, even though that’s the best free kick by the uncle, its not only that which makes it a funny scene. But Jayesh so casually asking Mehernosh to not ask sorry with a dialogue like, “you hit yourself and apologize to us” Such lovely writing.

The beauty of the movie is not only the lead or leads, its also the women, which turns it from a guy movie to a friend’s movie. Leave out the woman from the movie, it’s an ideal movie to watch it with (only) your buddiesbut with powerful female characters, it gives so much depth and makes it an ideal watch no matter whom you’re with. Firstly Kavya, the way she owns Arjun is just so liberating. It’s an ideal “guy comforting a girl” scene reversal which was done so beautifully. Glad they didn’t end up kissing, its too great a scene to end up being romantic. Like how most of them rate ‘Before Sunset’ more than ‘Before Sunrise’ because it doesn’t brim with romance always.

The other, not so obvious female leads too give confidence to the men, like how Tasneem (Rasika Dugal) whom we feel is in deep distress, being a single mother with two kids with hearing impairment casually brushes it off saying, “usme kya hae, life hae”. She says that without any regret. She truly feels,“it happens”. Such an amazing scene that. If you had noticed, even when she talks to Rashid, she uses sign language without her knowledge as she had been so used to talking to their sons. Both Shahana Goswami and Rasika Dugal are gem of actors whom I discovered during my lockdown watches.

Women with even lesser screen space like Arjun’s sister Shruti (Meher Acharia-Dar), Dominic’s mother Wilma (Rama Joshi) and Vinta (Maanvi Gagroo) have a role to play and are not just mere sidekicks who are there to fill up the negative space in screen. They have impact with the men some way or the other.

The reason they all unite is Sunday. Anyone who waits for the weekend right from day one would understand what a holy word that is. It’s not only Sunday that they wait for but to see each other who are like Sunday brothers to them. The movie gives a feel like one of those rare Sundays where you don’t think about a Monday. Just the mere thought of it is so relaxing.