| New Delhi |
Updated: June 11, 2020 9:34:14 pm
Gulabo Sitabo, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan in the lead roles, is the first big Bollywood movie to have a direct OTT release owing to the outbreak of coronavirus. Cinephiles are excited to see what Shoojit Sircar, the filmmaker who has gems like Vicky Donor, Piku and October among more to his credit, has to offer in his latest film.
Here’s what we know about Gulabo Sitabo which will begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video from June 12:
The film’s title is inspired by an Uttar Pradesh-based traditional puppet show, whose stories revolve around two female glove puppets — a man’s mistress (Gulabo) and his wife (Sitabo) — who are always at war. Talking about the title, Shoojit Sircar told the Indian Express, “We thought why don’t we celebrate this dying art of puppetry with this title? This was not our original title. Juhi and I thought of this while watching some Gulabo Sitabo puppet shows on YouTube.”
Gulabo Sitabo is a quirky dramedy which follows the story of an elderly landlord Mirza Sheikh who tries to get his tenant Baankey Sodhi out of his priceless possession: his mansion which is in ruins. But Baankey is no less. He gives it back to Mirza and continues to live in his house without even paying the rent.
To get rid of Baankey, Mirza one day decides to sell his mansion. But Baankey with the help of an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India (Vijay Raaz) gets the mansion declared as a historical site. Now, what will come out of this chaos remains to be seen.
The film stars Amitabh Bachchan as the elderly landlord Mirza Sheikh, and Ayushmann Khurrana plays his tenant, Baankey Sodhi. Vijay Raaz is the Archaeological Survey of India officer, and Brijendra Kala essays the role of a lawyer. Actors Srishti Shrivastava and Farrukh Jafar will also be seen in the movie.
Director and writer
Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar has helmed Gulabo Sitabo. Talking about the film, he told indianexpress.com, “I call this film, the world of Gulabo Sitabo. So there are many characters, many families, and my camera goes inside there and just observes them. It’s not like you act and we’ll do something. It’s so fluid. It’ll look like everyday people who come from an economically lower background, their everyday struggle, life and smiles. Ayushmann will melt into this world so well that you won’t even notice him. So that’s the fascinating part.”
Juhi Chaturvedi, who has written Sircar’s earlier films Piku, Vicky Donor and October, has penned the script of Gulabo Sitabo as well. Sircar feels half of his job was done with the script only as “it was written very well.”
Gulabo Sitabo’s soundtrack is packed with ten songs, and all are original compositions. They have been composed by Anuj Garg, Shantanu Moitra and Abhishek Arora who have given a folk touch to the film’s album. Dinesh Pant, Vinod Dubey and Puneet Sharma have penned the lyrics. While the makers have released the music video of “Jootam Phenk” and “Madari Ka Bandar”, the other songs are available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, YouTube Music, Gaana, JioSaavn, Wynk Music and Hungama.
Talking about the film’s music, Sircar had shared, “It’s very different, traditional and raw.”
Ayushmann Khurrana on Gulabo Sitabo
Ayushmann Khurrana shared his thoughts about Gulabo Sitabo and why he did the film in an interview with Anupama Chopra. He said, “This is the kind of film I do for myself. It is just pure cinema. There is no social message in the film or a social taboo being addressed. It is a pure slice of life film where a landlord and a tenant are at loggerheads. Also, Shoojit is my mentor, and I would do any film he will ask me to do, even if that is a passing role. I am because of him.”
Amitabh Bachchan on his look in Gulabo Sitabo
Talking about the prosthetics used in Gulabo Sitabo, Amitabh Bachchan told Film Companion, “What I learnt from the makeup artist on Gulabo Sitabo was that the most identifiable feature in face prosthetics is the nose. Change just that and the entire face changes. That is what was executed after several trials and errors on the ‘look’. Once that was settled we went ahead with the rest of the look – the eyes, the spectacles, the ageing etc. Nose well in place did the rest.”
Gulabo Sitabo tongue twister challenge
To create some buzz around his film, Amitabh Bachchan started a Gulabo Sitabo tongue twister challenge on social media wherein he challenged his co-actor Ayushmann Khurrana and other Bollywood celebrities including Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Kartik Aaryan and Bhumi Pednekar. Check out who all took up the challenge:
Shoojit Sircar, Juhi Chaturvedi and the team had to battle quite a few controversies to bring their film to screens. While the producers’ decision to release Gulabo Sitabo on Amazon Prime Video invited a lot of criticism from the exhibition sector, Juhi Chaturvedi was accused of plagiarism.
Late writer Rajeev Agarwal’s son Akira Agarwal accused Chaturvedi of plagiarism. He said Juhi was one of the jury members of Cinestaan India’s Storyteller Script Contest in which Agarwal had submitted his story ’16 Mohandas Lane’.
Clarifying the plagiarism charges against Juhi Chaturvedi, Rising Sun Films, the production house of filmmaker Shoojit Sircar, and producer Ronnie Lahiri released a statement that read, “To begin with, Juhi’s concept for the film was registered in 2018, much before the contest. Furthermore, Juhi never received a copy of the supposedly copied script. This has been independently confirmed by the script writing contest organizers as well. Lastly, our film’s story is different from that sent out in the notice. It is surprising how grave allegations are being made solely on the basis of a 2 minute 41-second trailer.
“On May 29th, SWA ruled in favour of Juhi. Clearly, the allegers are upset as the SWA decision didn’t go in their favor. Releasing the notice to the press, harassing us on social media, seems to be a deliberate attempt to malign Juhi and damage the film. We have full faith in our film. At this time, when we have taken the bold decision to release the film on OTT, these baseless allegations only create unnecessary controversy. We request the press to stand by us and condemn the behaviour of these allegers and their lawyer for resorting to such tactics only for press, limelight and ulterior motives.”
Before the release of Gulabo Sitabo, the makers unveiled a few behind the scene videos that showed what went into the making of the film.
Gulabo Sitabo releases on Amazon Prime Video on June 12.
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