After Begum Jaan earlier this year, which didn’t impress most of its audience, Vidya Balan is back on the big screen with Tumhari Sulu. Almost 11 years after playing radio jockey Jhanvi in Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), the actress is seen playing RJ Sulu in the comedy – drama. While the profession that both these characters take up is the same, the November 17 release came with a promise to present VB in a never seen before avatar – as a simple homemaker from Mumbai, who takes on being an RJ at an after dark show, to realize her dreams. Does Tumhari Sulu has all that it takes to own the audience or is it a fare you are better off missing? Read the review to know more…
What’s it about?
Sulochana or Sulu (Vidya Balan) is an ordinary Mumbai homemaker, whose life revolves around her husband Ashok (Manav Kaul) and her eight-year-old son. She knows how to be happy but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about a better life. She wants to be more than just a homemaker. And with her spunk, she has a positive, ‘mai kar sakti hai’ attitude that makes her extraordinary. So when an opportunity to play an RJ at a popular radio channel presents itself, Sulu is quick to grab it. Supporting her in the journey are her husband and boss Maria (Neha Dhupia). But will she be able to strike a work-life balance or will her ambition take a toll on her personal life? Her family, who is so used to having her around and available all the time, be able to adjust to a not having her around at their beck and call?
Tumhari Sulu is a slice of life film and its story has all the elements in place to make it an easy watch. The story is relatable and the characters, their life, their struggles, their pain and joys are so real that they strike a chord instantly. Vidya Balan deserves applause for carrying yet another beautiful piece of cinema on her shoulders. She is the hero of the film and her Sulu is an absolute treat to watch. She is effortless and affable in her character which is so relatable that you will fall in love with Sulu without even trying. You realize her brilliance as an actor when she doesn’t slip out of her character even once, tightly portraying the nuances of her onscreen self’s personality. What she does best is not go OTT while playing Sulu, whose happy and positive state of mind is infectious. Her transition from a homemaker to a professional is heartening and you will find yourself celebrating along with her.
She is supported brilliantly by other members in the team who all come together to tell an engaging and entertaining story. Manav Kaul as the doting husband, Ashok, gives a restrained performance. There are moments that seem right out of lives of any real middle class husband-wife, which brings out the wonderful chemistry between the two. His character Ashok is supportive of Sulu’s dreams and ideas, irrespective of how far-fetched they are. But there comes a time when her career takes off and his goes downhill, the maturity with which the story deals with the new relationship dynamic of the couple are heart touching. Here again, the director stays away from making this overtly dramatic or emotional. This is no Abhimaan (1973 – where the plot revolves around the ego and jealously that creeps into a married couple’s life). And yet, it is an important aspect of the film, and the director ensures to give the angle the required screen time.
Neha Dhupia as the head of the radio channel is stunning and looks and acts the part. She is not just a woman who calls the shots, but is also someone who’s not insecure and knows how to mentor a fellow woman professional. The film will leave a smile plastered on your face much before it is over.
After a riveting first half, the slow pace of the film post interval takes you by surprise, not a pleasant one. This is also where the film takes a melodramatic turn and you wonder for a moment, if this twist was even necessary. You are so happy to see the happy side of Sulu, that you find the dash of dark in the second half totally unwelcome.
What to do?
Watching the impeccable Vidya Balan perform on screen is a treat in itself. And when it is a story that has all the right elements to keep you engaged and entertained throughout, you have a winner at hand. Tumhari Sulu is one such film – sweet, simple, touching, highly entertaining and totally unmissable.
India.com rating – 3.5 stars