The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Film review: Tumhari Sulu

Language- Hindi
Cast- Vidya Balan, Manav Kaul, Neha Dhupia, Vijay Maurya and others
Director- Suresh Triveni
Release date- 17th November 2017

We don’t make films like them anymore. The Hrishikesh Mukherjees and Basu Chatterjees creations were set in our middle class world and the protagonists were not larger than life. Yet we loved them for their simplicity and for the fact that we could relate to them the most among all we saw on screen.

Tumhari Sulu is a sincere attempt towards making that realistic, meaningful yet entertaining cinema. It’s about Sulochana (Vidya Balan)- a housewife who hasn't achieved much for herself but has an indomitable spirit to win. Sulochana (Sulu to her husband and family) participates in the lemon and spoon race in the annual sports of the housing society and the contests on FM radio channels and win prizes. She, with her husband Ashok (Manav Kaul) and school-going son live a happy life in a modest flat in Virar. She is always compared to her well-educated sisters who are successful in career but refuses to be affected by that. Her aspiration in life is to make the best of the opportunities life throws at her. One day she came across an ad for an interview of an RJ in an FM station where she visited to collect her prize. She ends up as the host of a late night show ‘Tumhari Sulu’. The show becomes a hit but brings some unpredictable turns in Sulu's life. Whether she is able to cope with it forms the rest of the story.


Suresh Triveni has made his debut film with everyday middle class reality, at home or at work, which the audience can well identify with. The characters are real and well-etched irrespective of length, hence easy to relate to. Their conversations, happy moments, aspirations, problems, challenges, frustrations are competently written and crafted. Yet the film is engaging throughout and the setting, whether home or workplace or the commute in between, lends an able support. It is praise-worthy to see how Suresh spins a yarn that is so heartwarming and engaging set in a life that's so familiar and devoid of cinematic frills. It only shows that the writer-director was clear in his mind and had the confidence in what he wanted to convey and precisely how, and his advertising background has been of great help in this. The end looked a little rushed but. The conclusion deserved a little more space.

In performances, Vidya Balan breezes through Sulochana. Apart from her acting acumen, she has the right persona for the protagonist and coupled with the well-defined character and its graph, she’s a treat to watch. She makes Sulochana believable, charming and aspirational (as she lives her own life with the mantra “Main kar sakti hain”). The camaraderie she has with her husband comes alive through her playfulness on the surface and the love and care deep within. Her appearance has blended so beautifully with the middle class homemaker’s character that the thought of her being overweight for a protagonist’s role never crosses the mind.

Manav Kaul’a Ashok was a revelation for me. Ashok is a good soul dominated by his wife and in-laws.  At office, he is a sincere and hard worker stuck in a thankless, modestly-paying job which gets exploitative with a new young boss (Shantanu Ghatak) coming in down the line. It’s not easy to shine in such a role with nothing going for him but he pulls it off brilliantly. He brings alive the loving and caring vibes with his wife believably. This talented theatre actor definitely deserves to be seen more on big screen.


Neha Dhupia plays a level-headed FM station head Maria who takes a risky call in starting a late night show with Sulochona. The expressions on her face when she listens to Vidya or someone else are flawless! She is impressive and is the other revelation. We have seen her wasted in so many inane roles!


Vijay Maurya as the poet and show producer (he is also the additional writer of the script) does a commendable job bringing out the pride of his literary talent and the frustration of catering to client’s demand of ‘integrating’ the brand name in the jingle. He’s the producer of the radio show ‘Tumhari Sulu’ who gets Vidya to bring out the sexy voice of the RJ. All others are aptly cast and have performed as desired, including Abhishek Sharrma as Pranav - Sulu's son. Shantanu Ghatak as the Bengali entrepreneur and Ashok’s new boss was a little surprise. I wonder who has written his Bengali lines which are spot on!

The songs are pleasant and seamlessly blend with the narrative. The rehash of Hawa hawaii is sensibly used (in a party in the FM station), in no mood to match Sridevi in the original. Saurabh Goswami’s cinematography brings out the modest apartment of Sulochona and her workplace in the right tones and contribute to the real world the director desired to create.

#TumhariSulu #VidyaBalan #HindiCinema #HindiCinema2017

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