All heart

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Nov 2017 11:01:09

By Aasawari Shenolikar,

“Hello”, she drawls. The voice is loaded, a tad husky and very, very sexy. “Who wants to talk with Sulu?” she purrs. The late night RJ plays multiple roles - she not only plays popular tracks, she also is a love guru and an agony aunt to the late night callers on Radio Wow. Some problems are wild and whacky, some callers are amiable. Sulochana aka Sulu (Vidya Balan), the host of Tumhari Sulu solves them all with a pinch of salt. Winning over the callers, in barely a month, she become a hugely popular RJ.

The physical form behind the sexy voice is to say unsexy. She is a typical middle class housewife who is ‘main baravi fail hun’ but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming big, of making something extraordinary with her mundane life. The free spirited Sulu is trapped in a routine life - rushed mornings - preparing tiffin for husband Ashok (Manav Kaul) and Pranav, the school going son, napping in the afternoons, grocery shopping et al, but she is not bogged down by the dreariness. Even though she keeps busy with the trappings of a family life, she is full of beans and full of ideas. Of the four pages in her biodata, three are devoted to her hobbies. Opportunity comes her way when she is offered the late night slot in an FM channel. This is her time to literally soar. The relatable Sulu who gawks at the air hostesses, her neighbours, returning home, then takes the audience on a trip that they are not likely to forget. Winning every lemon ‘n spoon race in her son’s school is now replaced with winning over people. But in the process, the happy family life takes a hit.

Vidya Balan’s character is reminiscent of a Vidya Sinha in a Hrishikesh Mukerjee film - a slice of real life. Suresh Triveni has succeeded in his debut venture and given an opportunity to the audiences to savour a clean, fun-filled film. Bereft of Golmaalesque dialogue - ‘Aap hi hamare pillar ho, lost and found memory ke chillar ho ... aap hi hamare Johnny, aur aap hi hamare Lever ho’, the film evokes chuckles and the first half is breezy. Manav Kaul complements Vidya Bala to the T but it is Vidya Balan who steals the show. Triveni needs to be applauded for his taut writing for nowhere does it allow Vidya Balan to become a flippant and inconsequential character. She is that ‘funny in your face character’ and she acknowledges this fact in the many interactions that she has with her husband, but she is no ‘abba dabba jabba’ character. She is sensitive, thoughtful and maybe a little rebellious. This side of hers you get to see when she is facing her two intimidating elder sisters, who at every given opportunity are condescending towards her. But they genuinely care for her and she knows it, for a stray dialogue reflects the tight bond between them. When they threaten her that if she does not leave her late night job, they will not entertain her if she comes looking for solace, she turn around ad says, “Main toh aaongi, family ho tum.” This and many things in the movie make it an absolutely relevant tale. Most of us, sometimes or the other, while talking to someone, have rolled up our eyes and silently uttered, ‘pagal hai yeh’ and then laughed uproariously with colleagues/friends/family. Triveni has inducted these minor instances in the plot and we have RJ Albeli Anjali (Maliksha) and Maria (Neha Dhupia) rolling in laughter at Sulu’s insistence on the phone. But Maria is one hell of an employer and Neha Dhupia shines in her brief role. She is no-nonsense, but at the same time she is compassionate and encourages Sulu to be her own person and develop her own technique on her show. Sulu, on her own, in her own style, keeps people at bay who try to act fresh with her and endears herself to many others with her approach to their problems.

Even as you chuckle with Sulu, it is hard not to miss out the subtle message. It is all hunky dory in the family as long as the woman stays at home and manages the house. The moment she thinks of stepping out and trying to make a life for her - and this time it is not necessarily about supporting the family financially - it is more about finding your own identity, all hell breaks loose. The understanding supportive husband starts doesn’t take too kindly to the night sojourns of his now famous wife and blames the wrongs that come their way on her. The tightly woven tale comes loose at a cliched climax. And that perhaps in the only flaw in Tumhari Sulu. Triveni’s characters score with the laughter and tears that they manage to evoke with their heartwarming performances.

Vidya Balan has had her shares of brickbats and bouquets. Tumhari Sulu will add another flower in her growing bouquet. She gets to play a meaty role and she does complete justice to a story that shows her in a new light - as someone who can carry off a comical role with much elan, she brings on the laughter without making a fool of herself. She does find great support in the other characters and that is why this makes it an entertainer one needs to watch at least one. For Sulu. Farrata Fararta hai, aloo bam phatkha hai, chote se packet mein Guddi yeh Dhamaka hai. - thus goes a stanza in the song Farrata Farrata. Let’s twist this a bit and say, ‘Sulu/Balan yeh dhamaka hai.’

The Hitavada Rating: O O O