If I could tell you what I think of Tumhari Sulu in a nutshell, I couldn’t. That’s because there are a lot of positives about the film, but there are also a number of ‘buts’.
Tumhari Sulu starts out as a fun, easy-going film in which Vidya Balan plays Sulochana or Sulu, the housewife who wants to do something in life. Sulu hasn’t completed her education, failing 12th, and her father and twin sisters don’t let her forget the fact. But her husband Ashok (Manav Kaul) is supportive, though his tongue freezes when Sulu’s father and sisters come over. They have an 11-year-old son, Pranav, who has taken to sharing magazines and DVDs with provocative pictures at a daily price in school.
Sulu enters contests on the radio and has already won a few. But when she goes to collect her gift this time, she sees a poster that’s announcing an RJ contest. Much to the amusement of RJ Albeli Anjali (Malishka Mendonsa), she persists and snags an audience with the boss, Maria (Neha Dhupia). The end result is that now, she has her own late night show called Tumhari Sulu on the lines of a crasser meaning of “Saree Wali Bhabhi.”
Thanks to this job, Sulu’s life is thrown into a spiral that refuses to straighten out. At the same time Sulu lands this job, Ashok’s job is in danger. And an Abhimaan kind of scenario rises. Everything keeps coming back to bite Sulu’s head off and she is absolutely furious at how everyone seems to think everything is her fault. [Which is unfair, really.] How Sulu straightens it all out forms the rest of Tumhari Sulu’s story.
While the supporting actors have done a commendable job, special mention for Manav Kaul who plays Ashok to almost-perfection. And Vidya Balan as Sulu shows that she can act normally, too. I have always found her acting exaggerated and overhyped. But in Tumhari Sulu, Vidya Balan proves that she has the ability to adapt to change. A well-rounded off happy, strong character, Sulu knows what’s right and wrong. She’s only exasperated with the people around her and their inability to comprehend simple truths. She knows the truth, but she isn’t smug about it, doesn’t come across as self-righteous.
There’s rib-tickling comedy in the first half of Tumhari Sulu; everyday things twisted to bring you generous doses of laughter. The second half is sure to make you cry. At the unfairness, at the anger, at the hypocrisy, and at Vidya Balan and Manav Kaul’s realistic portrayal of a middle-class couple going through so much more than they bargained for. Abhishek Sharma, who plays Sulu and Ashok’s son, Pranav, also does a commendable job.
The characters are well-written, and the story well-woven. Tumhari Sulu succeeds in showing the ambitions, dreams, and daily struggles of middle class. The mentality that surrounds the middle-class family, the most frequent reason for them to stop wanting to follow their dreams, is portrayed so bluntly, so blandly in the movie, that it brought tears for my eyes. Oh, the injustice of it all!
In spite of these positives, something didn’t quite sit right with me when the movie ended. A lot of loose ends that weren’t tied up, and issues that weren’t resolved made me feel a bit like I was left hanging on to a thread. It might have been done so on purpose, to give free rein to the audience’s imagination.
But it didn’t succeed for me. I want to know how everything was ironed out. I want to know if Sulu succeeds in her job or if she gives up. I want to know if Sulu gave it to her sisters for haranguing her since forever. But they didn’t tell me. Tumhari Sulu could have been a straight 5 star movie, but because of how it ended, I’m not even going near 4.
If I ignore the way it ended and write up a Utopian ending of my own without cribbing that the makers didn’t give me even an ending, leave alone Utopian, I would say Tumhari Sulu is one of the best Bollywood movies to have come out this year. But they didn’t give me closure. So I’ll just settle with saying that Tumhari Sulu is one of the better ones to have released in 2017. I like it, but I just feel let down a little.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life! 🙂