Vidya Balan, Neha Dhupia, Malishka Mendonsa, Manav Kaul
Who said good films have to have a complicated story that leaves your adrenaline pumping and mind pondering, even as you heave your way out of the theatres? Some films can simply be a glimpse into someone else’s journey that reminds you of yourself, or someone who may have touched your life passing by.
Tumhari Sulu is a film that is about that person who exists, not to change your life but to simply live up her own. She is not someone who will give you a long winding sermon on how you should lead yourself. She only wants to lead her own life in the best way possible. She has hopes and dreams, and doesn’t falter on determination either. She is she, she is you... she is Tumhari Sulu.
Sulochana aka Sulu (Vidya Balan) is a married woman. Her typical suburban, middle class existence has its own struggles and pleasures, with her husband, Ashok (Manav Kaul) – playing the bread-winner, Sulu keeps busy raising their 11 year old son, keeping the house and being content with her housewife status. Except she has to sometimes deal with her siblings’ superiority complex as they both have jobs.
Her quick wit and ever enthusiastic persona starts getting her successes. Her ‘main kar sakti hai’ attitude lands her a job as an RJ too. Overnight, the housewife turns into a radio sensation. With Sulu’s growing popularity amongst the men, Ashok’s insecurities too start growing. Somewhere in the constant juggle between work and home – Sulu does question herself and her aspirations but mostly, she doesn’t want to be apologetic for wanting her family to have a better life, have that little extra that can help them on a rainy day.
Yes, it is a predictable graph the story takes but you don’t mind it, because the film has many moments that make you smile and a few moments that make you swallow the lump in your throat. Suresh Triveni takes you into a world where divorced women aren’t morbid, hard-working professionals silently listening to the brickbats their bosses dole out - just because having a job is more important than having their pride, children get bullied and a simple nondescript housewife turn into a superhero. It is bitter but it is also sweet, it is life as you and I know it.
Of course, Triveni knew his strengths and he plays it well. He brings out a phenomenal performance from each and every one in the film, in each and every frame. Of course major credit of making this sweet film a memorable one will go to Vidya Balan. Because if a film like Sulu gets made and appreciated today, it is only because of her acting capabilities and her dogged determination to swim against the tide. With no bling, no gimmicks and no shenanigans, to bring out a film which stands on your lead actress's able shoulders, unfortunately is a gamble even in today’s day, but with Sulu, it definitely pays off.
While we expect the best from Balan, Kaul did surprise us with his interpretation of the character. He could have easily slipped into being the archetypical sour-pus in Sulu’s success-story but he still comes across as affable, which is commendable for the actor as well as the director.
A good size of the credit goes to all the technicians associated with the film, each and everyone has tucked away their professional aspirations of grandeur and allowed the vision of this film to take precedence. While, it should always be the way a film should be treated, it is not easy to make a frame look calmly mundane, when you could make it look grand.
All praises for Triveni for getting his crew in sync with his vision with such a tandem that Tumhari Sulu looks like a personal journey for them and us, the audience. While post interval slacking of pace and predictability of script might dampen the spirit, there is a lot to take away from it - like some cute anecdotes, funny moments and a smile.