Tumhari Sulu (2017)
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Directed By: Suresh Triveni
Cast: Vidya Balan, Manav Kaul, Neha Dhupia, Vijay Maurya
Tumhari Sulu is a story of every middle class household and every housewife in India trying to balance her family and her ambitions. Women live their entire life dedicated to family and bound by traditions. But a lot of these women have ambitions to do something and not just “sit at home”. And every time a woman wants to break free, societal pressure kicks in to stop her in pursuing her dream. Either it’s the husband or the pesky relatives who always advise against fancy ideas or the parents who constantly remind her of the past failures and shut her down- a housewife is just a glorified maid.
Sulu aka Sulochna (Vidya Balan) is that quintessential middle class housewife. She is a very enthusiastic woman, evidenced by the numerous participation in housing society organized sports events and the TV/radio quiz competitions. She is a happy go lucky person, who wants to do something in life and move beyond the 12th fail tag which her dad constantly reminds her of. And the reason behind every new adventure and success is those three words: “Main kar sakti”. She is a cornucopia of positive energy. Its these three words that land her a job at a radio station as a radio jockey and from there on she becomes the toast of the town.
She has a very supportive husband in Ashok (Manav Kaul) and a pubescent son dealing with bullying. Ashok eventually gets frustrated with his dead-end job as now he has to report to a hellish boss and is underappreciated at work. Also the fact that she becomes the fantasy of every guy in town piles it on. Manav Kaul has acted brilliantly and has grown leaps and bounds from Kai Po Che. Sulu also has twin elder sisters who are happily married, “well settled” and are in respectable jobs. They constantly mock her for her choices and her happy go lucky attitude.
Vijay Maurya as Pankaj, a jealous coworker and Neha Dhupia as Maria her boss, are good in their roles. The initial scenes with Pankaj and Sulu hosting the show are hilarious.
Vidya Balan is perfect for the role, there is an innocence when she asks for a TV instead of a pressure cooker from the RJ. She has essayed the role of an RJ before but this is a complete and standout performance. Tumhari Sulu becomes Hamari sulu all because of Vidya Balan.
But Tumhari Sulu isn’t without flaws- the stunt pulled by Pankaj in front of a client is kind of random and unbelievable. The end resolution is over-simplified – everything just automatically falls into place. All the conflicts- whether financial or emotional or between relationships- simply melt away magically. Tumhari Sulu is a combination of two different movies- a light hearted comedy and a family drama, the amalgamation between the two is missing.
Tumhari Sulu is very watchable and that’s because of the heart and soul of the film- Vidya Balan as Humari Sulu.