Tumhari Sulu: ***1/2
Starring: Vidya Balam, Manav Kaul, Neha Dhupia
Director: Suresh Triveni & team
What’s it about?
An effervescent middle-class housewife finds her true calling as the voice of a sultry late night show on radio that puts her seemingly ordinary life to test.
To find out if Sulu aka Sulochna Dubey played by the super talented Vidya Balan passes this test, you have to check out ‘Tumhari Sulu’. Vidya sure passes the test of putting up an extraordinary performance as the spirited Sulu, whose sensuous ‘Hello’ sends the city of dreams Mumbai into a tizzy, by the night.
But by the day, she is your quintessential middle-class mahila from Mumbai’s far-flung suburb Virar. She trumps the other ladies in all society competitions (read musical chairs, lemon & spoon), dotes on her husband and 11-year-old, survives consistent meddling and unforgiving gibes from her extended family but all the same; aspires to the live the corporate life by doing a ‘job’.
Amidst all of this, she remains enterprising enough to win competitions and a chance of a lifetime on the radio. As Vidya traverses through the daily grind of Sulu’s rather insipid life routine, you become a part of it and start rooting for her. Manav Kaul as her husband and Neha Dhupia as her boss provide solid support.
Vidya to the rescue
At 2.5 hours, the film is definitely long, but not boring for the most part. Sure, the pace slows down in the second half, but that’s where Vidya’s fine performance comes as a welcome respite.
Director and writer Suresh Triveni keeps Vidya’s character real and never too cinematic and not even once sleazy. But he misses out on the opportunity to utilize Sulochana’s transformation into her on-air avatar ‘Sulu’ more amusingly and deftly.
However, this is a minor bump in the overall narrative of ‘Tumhari Sulu’ that is made up of light-hearted ‘LOL’ moments and an earthy honesty that reflects the vagaries of the urban middle-class life in the city.
So if ‘Tumhari Sulu’ is showing at a theatre near you, go tune in.
- Ronak Kotecha