WHY GULABO SITABO IS UNWATCHABLE (FOR ME)
Getting a Amitabh Bacchan movie for free in your home during what is turning out to be shitty year when half the world is either dying, unemployed, unpaid or under lockdown would seem like a blessing. But for me it’s not so. Not that it’s a curse, not that it’s a bad movie. An Ayushmann Khurana movie even if bad is at least interesting. Same can obviously said of Big B in his second innings, rarely has he starred in a unwatchably bad movie.
If you watch Gulabo Sitabo’s trailer, it’s your generic- ‘set in a small town wacky story having lower middle class characters and humurously commenting upon real problems’- movie, so immensely popular after Gangs of Wasseypur (Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Savdhaan, Toilet ek Prem Katha etc etc) . The trailer was nothing eye-grabbing but nothing bad either. If not for presence of the two lead actors, it perhaps wouldn’t have garnered my attention. The story is about an old landlord – played by Amitabh- and Ayushmann Khurana who will obviously play a wacky character with a heart battling some social evil who will have some scene stealing comic lines (basically Ayushmann Khurana in any movie). There-in lies my problem. No not with Khurana running his Dukaan as usual, I mean that’s the kind of roles he does best. But my problem lies with Big B.
Yes you read that right, my problem lies with Amitabh Bacchan. If like me you grew up in a household that worships Bacchan, where his iconic lines are exchanged over coffee, tea, beer, dinner, lunch, during Holi, Diwali..most occasions except funerals (although am not entirely sure we haven’t quoted one during a funeral), in a house where changing the channel if Sholay is on is an impossibility and watching the shitty SRK Don is a blasphemy, you would have the same problem.
Look at the some of the films in last 4-5 years he has starred in – Piku, Pink, Sarkar 3, Thugs of Hindostan, 102 not out etc. Although I know Sarkar 3 is an absolute train wreck of a film compared Piku, I for the love of God can’t watch Piku. I still haven’t and probably never will. You mean to tell me – the Vijay who with the intensity of a billion suns in his eyes says - “Main aaj bhi feke hue paise nahi uthata..” is now a old farting, guy with Diarrohea? FUCK NO. I cant watch that. I have similar problems with 102 not out and now with Gulabo Sitabo.
I mean I get the fact that he is nearing 80 now and for a guy nearing 80 to say he has aged gracefully is always an understatement. For someone who experienced the peak of Superstardom Bollywood had never seen before, then came crashing down…then to re-invent himself at an age when Stars of yesteryear usually resort to doing fatherly roles and compete with the ruling Badshah’s of the industry represents a mountain of determination that only someone who portrayed Vijay Dinanath Chauhan could have. Age has allowed him to break the shackles of his image and do roles like Pa or Cheeni Kum when his southern counterparts are still more or less doing the same roles they did in the 70’s and 80’s.
That’s all to his credit but I for the love of God can’t watch the most manliest man to ever man the screen be reduced to an crippling old mess. Not that he can’t do it well, obviously he can. Doesn’t mean I have to watch it. I mean it’s been what 45 years since Sholay released (in my mind for some reason it’s still just 25-30 years) and am STILL unable to get over Jay’s death. I can accept him in powerful roles like Badla or Pink (which am honestly yet to watch but that’s my love for Big B fighting against my irritation with Tapsee Pannu) or Sarkar but you can’t just reduce Don to mumbling old man on a khaat.
Is this childish? Yes of course it is. Movies are pretend and we are all allowed to be childish about what we like in them and what we don’t. So am pretty sure Big B does a great job in such roles, am sure he’ll do more roles suiting his age or whatever interests him, but I will only continue to watch the ones where he exudes grace and intensity. That’s what he represents to me in real life. The critic in me might appreciate and like those movies and roles, the fan in me will never truly love them.