wogma rating: Watch, but no rush (?)
Strong characters with even stronger performances let down by an awfully ‘meh’ climax. And such a bummer that most of the ‘fun’ moments made it to the trailer.Read more
You can expect everything but the normal from Vidya Balan and I love every bit of it. Just the trailer exposes you to this vivacious, warm, quirky woman Sulu. This ambitious housewife seems to have simple dreams and a dollop of confidence. A confidence that could make her the butt of jokes from people around her but ends up converting them into her fans.
It is interesting that you can make so much out about the characters from the trailer but not much about the story and its conflict. The makers seem so confident of their characters to draw you in! Can’t wait to know Sulu better!
Tumhari Sulu releases on 17 November, 2017.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Sulu is not a character you see too often in films. You can see the great deal of thought that has gone into writing the character. That is true for the other characters too. Unfortunately, the story meanders to the point of taking the entire film down with it, and along the way you have repetitive character traits and situations.
realistically written and executed ambiance makes even the most ridiculous stories believable … and yet it is voyeurism of middle-class lives
So, Sulu (Vidya Balan) is chirpy and we see a lot of those in Hindi films. In fact, the other radio jockey in the film, Albeli Anjali (Malishka Mendonsa) who is the regular brand of chirpy we see in Hindi films shows you how different Sulu’s chirp is. Sulu differentiates herself because of the milieu she belongs to – the simplicity of a middle-class family. She makes tea for her family and wrings clothes out of her washing machine with the same spirit as she performs as a radio jockey. Her vigor and humor is indefatigable. She is so comfortable with her personality and sees perfect sense in the most impractical ideas she wants to follow through on. And yet she is more comfortable when she is by herself in the quiet of her day – you see the same content when she talks into the mic and has become oblivious to the people around her. For a person with a relatively conservative background, she is extremely non-judgmental. She thinks it is perfectly fine for her to take calls from horny men at a late night radio show, as a jockey. In fact, her charm and grounded attitude towards callers converts people who laugh at her to people who laugh with her.
Sulu is no feminist. She is not struggling any more because she is a woman. Being a wife and mother to her son is a part of her being. Her relatively more-accomplished sisters (Sindhu Shekharan and Seema Taneja) are working women who put her down with their dad in an almost Cinderella-esque manner. They ask Sulu’s husband, Ashok (Manav Kaul), who is prince charming of his own kind, to talk sense into her. But, it still have nothing to do with feminism. Collectively, they are not upset because Sulu has taken up a job being a woman. They are not happy with the kind of job she is doing. Ashok begins to get bitter not because she is working but because she is talking to horny men in her sexiest voice. He is romantically jealous, not necessarily professionally so.
And yet, the feminism comes through in the subtlest of forms when a passer-by woman police officer is dropping her child to school while asking him to make sure he eats well. Many characters who are not usually women are being performed by women in Tumhari Sulu - from the night-shift cab-driver (Trupti Khamkar) to the radio station’s head (Neha Dhupia) to the police officers on night duty and even the sisters who mentally harass Sulu – any of these roles could have been assigned to men and we wouldn’t bat an eye. But, women in these roles, made the film more feminist than it would have been if Sulu had to fight for her right to do the job she likes against a dominating husband or father.
Objectification too is highlighted in an indirect way. At one end you have Sulu who is taking calls from men, who would most likely be calling because Sulu’s sultry voice makes them horny. At the other end you have Ashok who seems to be living a typical married life with a weekly/monthly limit on sex. And at yet another end, you have their pre-teen son, Pranav (Abhishek Sharrma) who rents out adult magazines and CDs to his classmates. Tumhari Sulu doesn’t bother with making a value judgment of any of these, it just puts it out there.
Note how you know so much about the side-characters. It is a shame then, that despite the warmth with which each character is written – even Ashok’s irate boss or the writer for Sulu’s radio programme (Vijay Maurya) – the story comes across as forced and relatively lame with of course, one of the weirdest resolutions in films. It is almost like the three broad departments of writing – story, characters and dialogue are different skill sets.
It has always surprised me how realistically written and executed ambiance makes even the most ridiculous stories believable. The middle-class setting of a suburb on the outskirts of North Mumbai – with tiny houses which have living rooms that double up as dining rooms, that house families who consider Rs. 40,000 per month as a well-paying job – make you want to believe the ridiculous, fairy-tale like chance that Sulu gets to become a radio jockey. This is despite the low-income texture being forced down on you with close-ups of clothespins and cluttered sills. In fact, there were times when I thought the audience was being made to look down up on this setting with amusement as if the makers were writing an essay on – “the other life in urban suburbia: look at them, this is how they live” - middle-class porn of sorts.
Sulu is no feminist. She is not struggling any more because she is a woman. Being a wife and mother to her son is a part of her being.
The songs that interrupt the story seem forced too. Except for one song, the rest come across as avoidable fillers.
At its heart then, are the performances by one and all. Since, most of what you enjoy in Tumhari Sulu is the characters, it wouldn’t have worked out if it weren’t for able performances across the board. There is no way to know, relate and connect with the characters, to the point of being in tears in an otherwise comedy film, without the actors taking on their characters as their selves. Yes, I realise having one piddly paragraph for the actors when they have all done so well is not fair. But, words and more words praising each remarkable performance isn’t good enough either. The only way to do justice to performances of this caliber is to watch the film – if you can watch a film only for its characters and the performances, that is.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Rahul Bharadwaj, Desi Martini : ...The climax of the movie is very well unfolded , in fact you can wonder at the writing skills of director Suresh Triveni and you keep wondering is he a better director or a better writer or both.... full review
Thumbs up, by Maulin Parmar, Desi Martini : ...Come and see how far or close you are to be Sulu or her husband Ashok. Positive vibes, excellent message, fantastic performances. No violence, no below the belt. Just a few tear drops and a big smile. Year's best till date. So, 4/5.... full review
Thumbs up, by Smita Vyas Kumar , Desi Martini : ...This is a movie that entertains thoroughly while making a point about the challenges that women and families face when the lady of the house decides to explore life beyond her four walls. It makes you laugh and cry and makes you root for every inch of the way. This is a must watch.... full review
Thumbs up, by Zinia Bandyopadhyay, Desi Martini : ...The cinematography is again perfect, capturing the little things with extreme details. The music would stay with you, especially Manvaa Likes To Fly and Rafu! ... full review
Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ...But there's absolutely nothing wrong with Tumhari Sulu just the way it is. Vidya Balan's zany laughter keeps the mood light and that's what makes this film perfectly feel-good and breezy.... full review
Thumbs up, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...If you are in the mood for a sweet family drama that has a generous helping of comedy and excellent performances, then make sure to watch Tumhari Sulu. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Anita Iyer, Khaleej Times : ...Head to the theatres this weekend to watch this simple slice of life movie! You can definitely connect with their daily struggles in some way. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...Tumhari Sulu is one of those films which makes you smile while you leave the cinema hall. If not a masterpiece, Tumhari Sulu is a monumental piece by the master Vidya Balan. Watch it to fall in love with Vidya all over again. ... full review
Thumbs up, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...You can hear Sulu’s, a.ka. Vidya Balan’s, full-bodied laughter echoing in your ears long after you’ve left the theatre. You can also hear her sultry, deep greeting on radio -- “Helllow”. For the best part of writer-director Suresh Triveni’s slice of life comedy-drama, I had a smile on my face. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...This film, where Vidya shows up as a vivacious, fat Virar aunty, embodying all the compassions and contradictions within a modern desi woman, is not an exception, by any means. It is really as good as it gets.... full review
Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Director Suresh Triveni draws from his ad-film experience to assemble a tightly-knitted story but loses focus in the second half. His most effective contribution here is a memorable sequence which plays out over the course of a song — we see Sulu's career flourishing and her husband's plunging.... full review
Thumbs up, by Kirti Tulsiani, News18.com : ...From start to finish, Sulu resembles someone we have all seen in our life. Someone that Vidya brings to screen like no other could have and someone we’ll see in a different light now onwards. If English Vinglish gave housewives an identity, Tumhari Sulu breathes life into their existence. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...Yes, Sulu laughs a little too much and for too long, overdoes the 'happy happy joy joy' bit. But Vidya Balan's talent shines through and you are happy to let the warmth of the film envelop you like your favorite quilt. Â ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Be it Neha Dhupia's glamorous, easy-going radio head, Vijay Maurya's comically proud poet, Sulu's disapproving twin sisters, the Punjabi receptionist, the 'conjuncti-virus' struck tiffin service, the listener who is reminded of his wife in Sulu's hearty laugh, the well-meaning lady cabbie, every significant and secondary character strikes a chord in Tumhari Sulu with its inherent 'humarapan.' ... full review
Thumbs up, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...Balan delivers the belly-shaking laughs and heart-wringing tears with equal deftness. Sulu has her listeners at hello, but Balan scores from the moment she enters the frame all the way to the final close-up, where her face fills the screen and illuminates it.... full review
Thumbs up, by Neil Soans, Times of India : ...The essence of this story is 'Main Kar Sakti Hai', and with such a refined and affable actress as Vidya Balan in the lead, it is lovingly captured in 'Tumhari Sulu' making it an entertaining watch for the whole family.... full review
Thumbs up, by Ritika Handoo, Zee News : ...Saurabh Goswami camera keeps the tonality in syn with the basic taste of this light-hearted, slice-of-life film. We like how the filmmaker has kept everything understated, simple yet magical. The only issue happens to be the pace of the first half. You would want to jump a little and straight away skid to the second part. ... full review
So-So, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Vidya Balan and Manav Kaul are wonderful in Tumhari Sulu. And despite its exasperating folly as it draws to a close, Tumhari Sulu is a throat-achingly, side-splittingly hysterical entertainer. ... full review
So-So, by SUPARNA SHARMA, Deccan Chronicle : ...They are naturally, beautifully Mr & Mrs Ashok. Balan can turn on the heat and up a scene's emotional wattage with a look. She is insanely expressive and invests Sulu with all her warmth. Neha Dhupia is both — good and very annoying. She has a strange patronising edge to all that she does. The twin sisters very, very good. Watch Tumhari Sulu for Kaul and Balan. They make the cutest maddier couple.... full review
So-So, by Ananya Bhattacharyal, india today : ...All said and done, Tumhari Sulu is enjoyable and sweet, and a real family comedy. It does make you forget your mid-week blues, and you go home a happy person. ... full review
So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Tumhari Sulu isn't a perfect film, but it is definitely well worth a viewing as much for the quality of the acting and for its technical finesse. In any case, a film is easy to fall in love with when Vidya Balan is this stupendous. ... full review
So-So, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...But Tumhari Sulu belongs to its leading lady, and Vidya Balan is so good in it, she glosses over many of the script problems and gives us a protagonist so compelling it’s hard not to succumb to her charm. ... full review
So-So, by K K Rai.Reena, STARDUST : ...Vidya Balan is the soul of the film and her fans would find the fare irresistible. However, the slow pace and repetitive nature in the first half could curtail interest of the viewers. Go for Vidya Balan and watch the film. Above average! ... full review
So-So, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...The assertion comes way too late. But then she doesn’t represent a radical break away anyhow. It is about adjustments within the status quo, however unconvincing it may feel or however different you may want it to pan out for yourself. ... full review
So-So, by Karan Bali, Upper Stall : ...Adequate technicalities, a disappointing musical score barring the catchy Ban Ja Rani song, all in all, Tumhari Sulu scores all its brownie points courtesy Vidya Balan. Take her out and there is really nothing much else for the film to stand on. A pity because Triveni truly had something substantial going on here to build upon. ... full review
vanwynkle: Just stepping out of Tumhari Sulu and Sulu has taken away my heart whattodo
Subhash_ati9: Tumhari Sulu* is possibly the closest Bollywood has got to a Hrishikesh Mukherjee movie in the current times. *As told to me by my mom
starneelima: Hello.. Saw tumhari sulu... Loved the film and Your cameo is so cute.. Enjoyed the film
ShreyaB44635071: 'Tumhari Sulu' hits the theaters, it's a treat to watch @vidya_balan as Sulu.
Shraddha48: Tumhari Sulu is beautiful and heartwarming. Vidya Balan was at her usual best. However we couldn't stop crushing on @Manavkaul19. He is ❤️
sanjana_c28: Where I review @sureshtriveni's deftly made #TumhariSulu; lot of laughs, tears, and heart.
sameerh92747541: Watched tumhari sulu film enjoyed
SachinKondha007: ...... awesome movie ........ Tumhari sulu
ruchirasarkarx: Heard that tumhari sullu is really a good movie.
pranavjoshi: Tumhari Sulu is a brilliant movie! Loved it! #TumhariSullu
PradiptaSarkar: I absolutely adored Tumhari Sulu. Ball-of-mush feelings in my heart.
michael_mahanta: What an amazing movie is 'Tumhari Sulu'. Very sensible & relatable. @ayushmannk ur the pleasant surprise. @vidya_balan ur awesome.
kalpanagarg: An important topic voiced by the movie 'tumhari sulu', with brilliant performances by my favorite @vidya_balan and @Manavkaul19 :)
jumiiieee_: Tumhari Sullu is such a fabulous movie
jazz_by_the_bay: Awestruck again @vidya_balan ! Tumhari Sulu is such a delight ! A simple film with an amazing casting, it is indeed a #MustWatch
iyshweta: ‘Tumhari Sullu’- a simple and beautifully told story. Happy to see a film based on the world of Radio
ishantj: #Tumhari_Sulu is a must watch movie. Refreshing.
Gaurav_S_56: Tumhari Sulu a must watch a brilliant performance by @vidya_balan @Manavkaul19
film_fellow: Tumhari Sullu made me laugh harder than Thor Ragnorak don't @ me
drchampamadhu: Just loved it....hatss off to Vidya balance... Proved yet again you are the best #TUMHARI SULU#
DeBinani: The #feelgood factor about tumhari sulu 5/5 @vidya_balan awesome acting Mujhe na sab aacha lagta hai
atalagarwal: just saw "tumhari sulu" - nice movie
anujprataps: Tumhari Sulu is a knockout. One of the best of the year. @vidya_balan you are pure gold.
AnubhutiSriva11: Tumhari sulu Lovely
_priyapriya: Absolutely loved Tumhari Sulu. Everyone in the movie has performed brilliantly! Also, Vidya Balan is such a sweetheart
KamathGurudutt: Tumhari Sullu: 2.5/5 Fails to hold interest. Average. #HindiCinema
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.