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Tumhari Sulu  : Kinda Silly
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Friday, November 17, 2017
Suresh Triveni
Vidya Balan, Neha Dhupia, Manav Kaul

The best way to describe homemaker Sulochana Dubey is that she’s a positively happy person. Whether she’s flirting with husband Ashok, fighting with her siblings or even conversing with a pigeon, everything she does delights her.


With the great Indian middle class providing a ready backdrop for many a Hindi film today, director Suresh Triveni places Sulu in a household where the TV doesn’t work and Ashok rarely switches on the AC in the car. But happiness reigns in small ways. It may be Sulu entering various contests and coming home with a pressure cooker.Or Sulu who’s a runner-up in the lemon and spoon race for parents, asking Ashok to take a photograph of her in the No 1 spot when no one’s looking.


With everybody badgering her to take up a job, Sulu gets an unexpected break as a late-night radio host. Until then, Triveni keeps it frivolous. Frivolous is the word because somehow, the humour stops short of being really funny. Husband and wife dancing sexily to a Hindi song is hardly rollicking fun. And Manav Kaul as Ashok doesn’t even have the image to pull it off.


While the fun isn’t infectious, the gradual slide in the director’s ability to say something refreshing is glaring.


From the 60s when Satyajit Ray got a timid homemaker to step out and earn a living in the film Mahanagar to Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Abhimaan and Anil Ganguly’s Tapasya, there have been various tweaks to the same story. Inevitably, there’s friction in the marital equation until the final acceptance that the housewife too can have a career.


Suresh Triveni doesn’t vary it too much except that in Sulu’s case, she works at night, seducing men who call in with her sexy voice. Many may not see that as a regular and respectable job but Triveni treats it like any other working woman’scareer.


The graph is familiar. The husband facing a crisis at work while the wife is joyous at her success has been a part of many a script.


Expectedly, the contented frivolity gives way to domestic tension until school-going son Pranav plays his part in getting Ashok to root for Sulu again.  


If performances alone could power a film, the well-endowed Vidya Balan makes Sulu sparkle. Neha Dhupia as the boss who gives Sulu a break is also impressive.


There will be many who’ll point to the digital and other rights which will make this low-cost movie profitable for its producers. But as a film that’s more ho-hum than delightfully yum, Tumhari Sulu gets a 2.5* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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