Tumhari Sulu: Highway Reel Film Review

Sirf tumhari nahin, hum sab ki hai Sulu!

Rating: 4/5

Starring: Vidya Balan, Manav Kaul, Neha Dhupiya

Written and directed by Suresh Triveni

The Story:

Sulochana, called Sulu by those who love her, is a homemaker whose day starts early and has loads of responsibilities. She is also a fairly vigilant mother and a very involved partner to her husband, Ashok.

It is only in comparison to her academically brilliant sisters who have bank jobs, that we ever notice that Sulu may lack something in her life. Her father and sisters never stop reminding her that she was a “12th  -class fail” who needs to find some work. They are patronising enough even to suggest that they could do a better job raising her son.

An interesting facet of life in Tumhari Sulu is also how enthusiastically she participates in the local contests of singing, spoon lemon races and mimicry. She has brought in a few kitchen and other household items as the prize.

Sulu wins a pressure cooker at a radio show and when she comes to collect it she sees an ad for new RJs. She doggedly pursues it, faces a polite but straight dismissal. She keeps stalking the head of the radio station. And when a chance actually appears she is ready. She enjoys it all – training, an unfamiliar but exciting work environment, late night travel and her changed routines. Much to the dismay of the RJ whose show she has taken over and is now training her. Sulu doesn’t care about the formula. She dons a sexy voice but speaks straight from her heart and brings hope, craziness and all things fine to her listeners. She really becomes Tumhari Sulu

Soon, challenges appear: as Ashok deals with an obnoxious boss, Sulu is flying through. The job is a culture shock for her respectable family as “all kinds of” callers call and she has to solve their often-inane problems.

Ashok’s injured ego shows up in his passive aggressive taunts. Her son does some stupid things in school and faces expulsion. And as is typical it is ALL the woman’s fault. Sulu despite everything, refuses to comply. A heart wrenching scare however shakes her and she is ready to call it quits. Do you come back with disappointment at how another star bites the dust or does Sulu’s never-say-die optimism find a spark in this darkness?

The Verdict:

Vidya Balan and her uproarious laughter plunk themselves in your heart instantly.

She is fabulously supported by Neha Dhupia, RJ Mallishka and Manav Kaul.

This simply told story glitters with everyday fun-of-living that makes even the challenges and mundaneness glitter!

The contrast between Sulu and Ashok’s mindsets also become an important commentary on how even when two people are bound by the same life challenges, one has started dwarfing his ambitions and given in to the inevitability of things never changing, while other says “Main Kar Sakthi Hai” and keeps on trying till the universe has no excuse left to not grant her opportunities.

Tumhari Sulu is however not without flaws. The climax does seem convenient and neatly ignores the question of why it falls on a woman to make all sacrifices at home and why she must always cater to the fragile male ego. If it the film evokes these questions though, it has succeeded a little more.

It is a lovely weekend watch and family-friendly too. Vidya Balan and Sulu’s shiny rainbow-like effervescence is infectious. The depiction of how women hold each other up and give chances in the professional world is beautiful and rare. Do watch and share what YOU think.

– Film reviewed by Nandini Arora

Nandini Arora is a TV writer by profession, having contributed to many a masala saas-bahu shows. She seeks masala in her real life too, sometimes by unashamed gossip, delectable food and in books. She loves movies and discussing them even more, over a cup of elaichi chai!




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