Banners: T-Series, Ellipsis Entertainment
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Tanuj Garg, Atul Kasbekar, Shanti Sivaram Maini
Director: Suresh Triveni
Cast: Vidya Balan, Neha Dhupia, Manav Kaul
Writer: Suresh Triveni
Music: Guru Randhawa, Rajat Nagpal, Tanishk Bagchi, Amartya Rahut,
Laxmikant–Pyarelal, Santanu Ghatak
Even though her recent films did not work wonders at the ticket counter, every Vidya Balan release is keenly awaited. Credit for this goes to the kind of cinema the actress has aligned herself with, and Tumhari Sulu is no exception.
Balan plays a housewife, once again, in this slice-of-life film but you are eager to find out what more there is to it. And, like every other time, she impresses with her talent and even manages to breathe life into a weak screenplay. Although the concept of the film is new, it has not been structured well. But you have Balan and her charming smile to cover up the lost impact in the screenplay.
In Tumhari Sulu, Balan plays the role of Sulochana, a happy-go-lucky, adventurous housewife who loves to compete all the time and manages to win at most things. Her life takes a new turn when she wins a quiz competition on the radio.
The film revolves around Sulochana, her husband and her son. Hailing from a lower-middle class family who live on the outskirts of Mumbai, Sulochana is happy even though her husband does not make enough money compared to her brother-in-law. They are a happily married couple.
Sulochana has elder twin sisters, who have always done better for themselves than she has but she doesn’t seem to mind. While she failed her Class XII exams, Sulochana now loves to take part in quiz competitions and even in a race in her son’s school!
The turning point in Sulochana’s life comes when she participates in a quiz on a radio channel and wins a pressure cooker. When she goes to collect her prize, she comes across a notice that advertises for a radio jockey with a good voice. She gives it a shot and her life takes a completely new turn. Supported by a loving husband, she goes on to become a popular RJ. What follows next and how it impacts her professional and personal lives forms the crux of the film.
The biggest USP of the film is the way Sulochana’s character has been written and beautifully portrayed by Vidya Balan. Sulochana is the quintessential homemaker, who cooks for her husband and cares for her child. While listening to the radio, she sings, does the groceries, participates in competitions and even chats with a ‘pet’ pigeon. She is easy to relate to and you end up rooting for her, regardless of every hare-brained scheme she gets herself into.
But there are several loopholes in the screenplay, the biggest one being that it is devoid of conflict. Had Sulochana’s child angle been fleshed out, the impact of the film would have been far greater. Also, not all the characters have been written adequately, like the male colleague at the radio station.
Tumhari Sulu is Suresh Triveni’s directorial debut and he is definitely talented. Despite being a first-timer, he manages to keep the audience engaged for the most part but he should have worked harder on the screenplay and dialogue.
The editing could have been crisper and not exceeded two hours. Cinematography is good. Music is just about okay, and the highlight, obviously, is the yesteryear super-hit song Hawa hawai.
Performance-wise, Vidya Balan once again proves that she can get into the skin of any character. Once in front of the camera, she becomes the character. She is absolutely fantastic and ably carries the movie on her shoulders.
It was quite a challenge for Manav Kaul to play the leading man in this film but he carries it off with elan. Neha Dhupia is good. Malishka doesn’t really leave an impression. The others lend adequate support.
Verdict: A treat for Vidya Balan’s fans!