'Gulmohar' review: Come, get soaked in this family drama
Gulmohar is no regular Indian family drama that is all crying but no fun. It's a fresh take that most of us will resonate with for a very simple reason- it does show the reflection of present-day families. We might be living under the same roof, but leading entirely different lives. It talks about change and acceptance. Read our review of it.
An engaging storyline
Gulmohar is the story of the Batra family who shifted their base from Jamshedpur to New Delhi three decades ago. Their home for 34 years, Gulmohar No. 1, has now been sold. As they celebrate their last night at their residence, the matriarch, Kusum (Sharmila Tagore) expresses her will to stay for another four days and celebrate Holi before she moves to Puducherry.
Shifting dynamics of an Indian family
Arun Batra (Manoj Bajpayee) is reluctant to move out of the house. His son also wishes to live separately. On multiple occasions, Arun talks of how a family's strength is in staying together, somewhere reflecting on the joint family traditions. But it also shows how the younger generation is moving out for their space, meaning no harm to the family.
Innuendos that are direct in tune with changing times
The writers have done a terrific job at keeping the dialogues and scenes crisp. Whether it is about high rises replacing bungalows in cities or the start-up culture that is not bounded by a suit and tie uniform but sneakers and T-shirts, the writers have subtly yet directly shown how times have been changing in regard to development.
Addressing homosexuality with a modern, sensitive approach
Director Rahul V Chittella has done a fantastic job but what impressed me the most was the sensibility and sensitivity with which he addressed the topic of homosexuality. Dialogues such as "Love is love.. Can happen at any time, with anyone," shows maturity in writing. He also impresses with how he talks about anxiety, inter-faith love, and caste and religious discrimination.
Seasoned actors to debutants, 'Gulmohar' is ruled by its actors
When a filmmaker decides to cast Amol Palekar, Tagore, and Bajpayee for a film, you can't be left disappointed. While the three seasoned actors played their roles perfectly, what impressed me more was how the other cast, especially the debutants, were at par with them. At no point it makes you feel that they're trying to act. Rather, they are natural with their work.
What didn't work
Palekar plays the role of Sudhakar Batra, the brother-in-law of Kusum. He is shown as a crude man who is about blood, caste, and religion. His character is what adds drama to the plot. He deserved more screen presence. Similarly, the love angle shown between the house-help and the watchman is sweet but not really required. Could it have been avoided? Yes!!
The Batra family has their own set of dramas that begin within five minutes of the film. It's relatable, entertaining, and at the same time, heartwarming. Watching Tagore and Palekar back on the screens is a pure delight, and when has Bajpayee ever been disappointing with his performance? It's a film you shouldn't miss. Gulmohar gets 3.5 out of 5 stars.