"Shoojit is a prolific maker and Ayushmann a prolific star, expectations are bound to mount." - Amitabh Bachchan

Gulabo Sitabo released on Amazon Prime Video on June 12th, 2020 and has been receiving rave reviews since. Amitabh Bachchan spoke about the film, Ayushmann Khurrana, and Shoojit Sircar just before the release.

Of course, one of the biggest draws is the partnership of two actors on the big screen – Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana. The two have crackling chemistry, often at loggerheads in a film based on a puppet show. Amitabh Bachchan speaks highly of Ayushmann, “Ayushmann is a most promising actor, of immense standing and caliber. I am honoured to have had an opportunity to work with him and learn. It is important to have an understanding colleague both on and off camera, and Ayushmann has been more than that. I hope that he felt the same.”

Another huge draw is of course, the genius of Shoojit Sircar. The impeccable relationship of the two was very clear in Piku. Amitabh says, “[w]hat I have developed over the years working with Shoojit is an immense respect for his craft, his understanding of the subjects he​​ chooses to make and the great cinematic guile he possesses in designing his characters. Directors are all-rounders. They possess immense qualities. They are scriptwriters, screenplay setters, production designers, music directors, editors, actors and marketing and publicity gurus. Shoojit is in command of all these qualities. Each time I have confirmation in my mind, that this is what Shoojit is thinking, he comes out and destroys it by giving me much better options in my thoughts.” 

How Amitabh Bachchan keeps going and churning out performance after performance is mind-boggling, especially considering the prosthetics involved in GiBoSibo. As he puts it “[p]rosthetics take time and a great deal of care and patience for it to be successfully executed. For GiBoSiBo it was no less; 3-4 hours each day on the make-up chair. Shoojit came with a reference picture of how he wanted Mirza to look and the team simply followed, as did I!  The challenge with prosthetics is the factor that it retains its look for the duration of the timings of a shoot. With our work done during the summer months of UP it was a difficult task to maintain that protocol. But it was managed, and the look does contribute to the character in the film.” 

Shot in Lucknow, the film’s setting is absolutely perfect. Amitabh says, “Lucknow as a city has its great history, aesthetics and distinct culture. Shoojit wanted to bring all of that out in his story and he has succeeded to display the essence of this remarkable city in the film. Be it the locations the characters portrayed in the film, the language, and the ambiance, all of it. It’s a wonderful blend and I am so happy that Shoojit chose Lucknow. There could not have been a better location. As far as Production goes, the management of the city authorities was impeccable. The people were generous, kind and understanding, as were they, ‘shooting’ friendly. We never faced any issues at all. And we worked in some of the most identifiable locations in the heart of the city.” 

One wonders if the setting and the background score would have really benefited from a theatrical release but in the current times, an OTT release may have been the best option. He states, “[c]reative works are ever under scrutiny and assessment, when exposed to the public, so one has to accept their verdict - one that we value. The audience shall decide the fate of the film, so let’s not jump to any conclusions. Yes, circumstances have been so prevailing that the OTT platform is being exploited for the release of GiBoSiBo and many factors have had to be absorbed in order that this decision could be taken by the Producers. As with every new invention we await the results of this experiment too. Shoojit is a prolific maker and Ayushman a prolific star, expectations are bound to mount. But that is where we need to stop for the moment. The living part is yet to be decided; it lies in abeyance!” 

Shoojit Sircar’s quirky dramedy Gulabo Sitabo starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana has premiered across 200 countries and territories on Amazon Prime Video on June 12, 2020. 

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