What’s Good: A touching story and a wonderful Manoj Bajpayee with a very capable cast come together to create a film that is about the complexities of a family.
What’s Bad: Some loose ends, but it doesn’t spoil the experience too much.
Loo Break: If you can’t shed that tear in front of everyone.
To watch or not?: Please. It is a film made with a lot of heart and love.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Available on: Disney+ Hotstar.
Duration: 132 minutes.
After 34 years of living in Gulmohar in the heart of Delhi, the Batras are all set to move to a penthouse in urbanized Gurgaon aka Gurugram. Matriarch Kusum (Sharmila) asks her family to spend the next four days in the now-sold family bungalow to celebrate Holi one last time. Packing and moving brings a neatly buried secret that shakes this tree to its core.
Gulmohar Movie Review: Screenplay Analysis
The grammar of a family anywhere on the planet is similar. People bond with each other by staying under one roof with some cracks and problems they overcome together. But is family always one that is bound by blood? Or is there more to this concept than just being born into the same lineage? Filmmakers have been attempting this complex story since ancient times and have even been successful. Br it the latest Kapoor & Sons Shakun Batra or Cake, an achingly beautiful Pakistani film made by Asim Abbasi.
He enters a new name in the list, Gulmohar. It is a metaphor for a bungalow that has branched out just like the members living in it. The presence of stairs in the house is a parameter of success, said the father in his youth to his son, who is now the head of the family. After 34 years in the house, they have now decided to move and embrace change. Written by Rahul with Arpita Mukherjee, Gulmohar is more personal than anything else. It is a favorite experience of almost every Indian household which was once held intact together but now split into nuclear houses. Every voice is represented in the common structure, the one who holds power, the one who silently bears witness, the one who is vocal, and the one who is oppressed.
There is so much heart in the little details added to the writing. Arun, the father of the family played by the ethereal Manoj Bajpayee, is stubborn and attached to the house he is about to leave. Even if he wants to go with the world and embrace change, there is still resistance. He is a man who has not yet accepted Gurgaon as Gurugram, so the change in homes is much bigger for him. Through this we see the urbanization of Delhi, the cost of living in a posh locality and how it burns the pockets.
There’s a big twist that could ruin your experience if revealed, but the handling of it is itself so subtle that it lands right in the middle of the emotional core. To support this from all sides, the creators created a world with several parallel stories. The house helps to have its own ecosystem and they are as important a member of the family as anyone else. But they are also often reminded of their position. There is a dig at the class divide, class divide and even orthodox thinking that is still evident in some.
While Gulmohar is delectable and touching, somewhere it ends up wrapping up some plot lines rather abruptly. Like when there’s a character who’s homosexual and the way she finds her redemption and the way her whole arc is handled feels very rushed and convenient.
Gulmohar: Star Performance Movie Review
Sharmila Tagore is returning to our screens after more than a decade and it is a joy to see her extend her regal charm once again. There is still so much in the way he pulls off the most complex scenes and you can see the experience he goes with.
Talking about experience, there can never be a bad performance by Manoj Bajpayee. The actor just keeps on surprising with Gulmohar, where he has to play the most complex role. He is a man struggling with anxiety and watching his entire existence crumble in an instant. The way he handles this character is a skill only actors of his caliber possess.
Simran plays Bajpayee’s wife and she is brilliant. Her character is written right in the center of preserving old values and urbanization. You see a bit of both in her. While he is in the service of this entire family, he is also riotous in his grumbling. The actor plays this role with so much every and gentle face.
Special credit to Jatin Goswami who makes the silence around him speak. Such controlled performance!
Gulmohar Movie Review: Direction, Music
Rahul Chittella gets all the right people to work on his project. Everyone knows what is expected of them and makes this product a beautiful watch. As a filmmaker, he is true to his story and never deviates from it to say something more or less. Yes, there’s room for a lot more catharsis and deep immersion in these complex stories, but that doesn’t detract from the experience.
The most interesting choice here is the selection of music composers. Siddhartha Khosla, widely known for his excellent work in the rare God’s gift of the show This Is Us with Alan Demoss, composed a soundtrack so unique and perfect that it adds so much more to the entire product.
Gulmohar: The Last Word Movie Review
Gulmohar is a personal film that talks about families and what makes them. Maybe put your judgmental gaze aside and give this one a try, it will just move you.