Gulmohar movie review: Brilliantly performed and emotionally sweeping
What: Gulmohar – headed by the brilliant Manoj Bajpayee and Sharmila Tagore in a class of her own, helmed by Rahul Chittella is a brilliantly performed, emotionally sweeping and life assuring adage.
Gulmohar movie synopsis
The Batra’s are the pushtaini aamir (a legacy of rich affluent families since generations) residing in saddi Delhi. A party is going on, rounds of cocktails and a soothing ghazal by Talat Aziz – who plays a family friend fills the air with compassion.
It's their final family gathering as Batra’s are about to move out of their thirty-one-year-old family home, the packers are coming in the morning next day.
Suddenly, the matriarch of the family, Kusum (Sharmila Tagore) announces that she is moving to Pondicherry soon after packing this house.
Everybody from the eldest son Arun (Manoj Bajpayee) , his wife Indu (Simran), son Aditya (Suraj Sharma), married daughter Payal (Nargis Nandal) and unmarried daughter Amrita (Utsavi Jha). Kamal son of Sudhakar (Amol Palekar) brother of Prabhakar – father of Arun is also shocked.
There is friction between Arun and his son Aditya. While Sudhakar, the uncle of Arun, is nursing an age-old resentment against Arun.
A parallel story of Reshma – Batra’s amid and Jeetendra the gate door guard also runs along.
Kusum wishes to celebrate Holi with everyone before leaving her thirty-one-year-old two storey’s family home.
An urge for love, hope and acceptance coined with an emotional dysfunctional family saga that winks at individuality with a feel-good slice of life smile.
Director Rahul V. Chittella does a Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do meeting Joel Zwick’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding happily joined by Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding.
The assistant of Mira Nair Rahul V. Chittella along with his co-writer Arpita Mukherjee give us a life-assuring and emotionally sweeping family drama that treats its subjects with respect and generates an element of curiosity in the characters.
The fortunes and misfortunes of the Batra’s and the not so privileged Reshma and Jeetendra shows the class divide but what unites all of them together is love and hope.
The joys and sorrows of Batra’s and their loyal servants Reshma and Jeetendra twined with the struggle for individuality amongst all make this drama connected to the sensible audience.
We may be part of what seems like a big large happy family but how much does our family understand our choices and individuality? This message is delivered wonderfully in Gulmohar by citing the classic format of people, places, spaces, choices and circumstances.
The Reshma Jeetendra episode may remind you of Dubeyji (Vijay Raaz) and Alice (Tillotama Shome) from Monsoon Wedding but it’s the overall emotionally sweeping quality of Gulmohar apart from its stellar performances from the main leads and others makes it a touching ride.
Some emotional moments are unforgettable like Manoj Bajpayee’s reaction after coming to know about his father’s will. Sharmila Tagore’s life-assuring moment with her granddaughter played by Utsavi Jha who is struggling with her identity and sexuality.
Gulmohar is a rare slice of life, it may not be that usual feel good mainstream family saga but effective to the core as any.
Manoj Bajpayee as Arun masters a nuanced integrity that is not at all flashy. It’s simple yet incredible. A very very rare quality seen in actors nowadays.
Sharmila Tagore as Kusum is in a class of her own. Dignified, poise in a very challenging role and she delivers with aplomb.
Simran as Indu – the dutiful wife and the bahurani of the Batra’s is so natural and effortless.
The Life of Pi fame Suraj Sharma as Aditya the son who wants to prove his mettle to his father is winningly controlled.
Utsavi Jha as Amrita is admirable in her vulnerable role where she is struggling for her identity.
Finally, Amol Palekar as chachaji – the old man stuck in his shell of thoughts and resentment is marvellous.
Eeshit Narain cinematography is eye-popping and vibrantly pleasant.
Music plays an important part. Siddhartha Khosla and Alan Demoss have done a fascinating job. The ghazal Dilkash by Talat Aziz is a delight for ghazal lovers. Woh Ghar is moody while Hori Mein is delightfully peppy.
The last shot of the climax was predictable for me. The series was running smoothly without falling prey to the obsession of forced foul language but suddenly at one scene it pops up from nowhere.
Gulmohar is a brilliantly performed and emotionally sweeping family drama. You may require a handkerchief/tissue paper to wipe your tears while watching. Gulmohar is streaming on Disney+Hotstar
Pls note: Same sex kissing scene and a hint towards gay/lesbian relationship is given. Viewers are advised to be responsible while watching at home with kids below 14 years of age.