‘Mein kar sakti hai, Mein Karegi’, The irresistible Vidya Balan does it again!!. Cutesy titled Suresh Triveni’s debut feature (short ad films like CONDITIONS APPLY, DEDH FOOTIYA, MY DADDY STRONGEST previous) TUMHARI SULU is a sweet blessing of a feel good slice-of-life heart charmer that wonderfully makes you fall in love with the amazing Vidya Balan, your family, your life and your wife once again.
Sweet but never cloying, simple without being simplistic, delicate yet not at all precious, this is a film guaranteed to steer your heart strings, give a kiss to what life has offered to you, count your blessings and stay alive with your dreams.
Writer-director Suresh Triveni’s central character Sulochna a.k.a Sulu (Vidya Balan) is a cross between the 80’s television series Rajani and the Bhabhijis that stay at home in the Mumbai suburbs, the only difference is that instead of changing the system like Rajani, and happy with her innocence like the ‘Bhabhi Ji Ghar Pe Hai’ types, Sulu wants to change her life, make it better and desires to fulfill her dream. It takes less than a minute for Suresh Triveni and Vidya Balan during the opening lemon and spoon race sequence to announce that something believable and special is coming. Sulu may not win the race but she always ensures that the lemon (metaphor of her dream/desire/passion) never slips from her life (the spoon).
Sulu has arrested her dreams in her daily routine as a mother of a wannabe teenager boy Pranav (Abhishek Sharma) and loving, caring and mischievously flirty wife of Ashok (Manav Kaul). Sulu looks upon her neighbours - airhostess duo every morning as they return from their assignments clad in their uniforms with dreamy eyes and poses like them in the mirror. Taking part in every event happening in her vicinity from lemon and spoon race, to musical chairs, to fastest vegetable cutter, to something like ‘seeti bajao inaam paoo’ contest on radio, Sulu who can, to an extant imitate legends like Hema Malini, Sridevi and even the singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam (Ahh.. that batata wada moment .. more of it later) has a heart that constantly bleeds with the belief that she can do it and most importantly she is confident that she will pull it off.
One fine day, she wins a radio contest that eventually transforms her into a night RJ, things change in Sulu's life as her late night adventures on radio are objected by her family members while her husband Ashok lends a helping hand, but things are changing drastically in Sulu's family life.
Filled with endearing, quirky and touchy moments Suresh Triveni constantly sprinkles the film with moments drawn from everyday life serving as a mirror to the working parents of suburban metropolitan townships were the push and pull of dream with responsibility often forces you to compromise.
Suresh Triveni weaves his debut feature with tapestry of rightly knitted genuine heartfelt emotions and doesn’t on force you. The writer-director remarkably displays a smooth flow of events that churns some amazing surprises like the batata wada song – it’s astonishing to find such a below average number tuned by RD Burman in the voice of S P Balasubrahmanyam and Asha Bhosle from the 1987 film HIFAZAT can give magical moments after 30 years. That’s really quirky and very smart indeed underlining the fact that nothing can be insignificant in the end, it depends on your perspective.
However, the feel good slice-of-life with occasional layers like the batata wada episode and the environment of Ashok’s work place starts searching for more depth in the second half and suddenly gets confronted by a melodrama that thankfully ends up on a positive note and manages to add another feather in its cap in spite of prolonged duration.
Marked with brilliant performance all around, TUMHARI SULU is undoubtedly Vidya Balan’s comeback to the world of ‘entertainment entertainment entertainment’ with a pleasurable heartfelt ‘Kahaani’ that displays her strength as an actress who can carry a film on her shoulders with amazing ease and confident. Vidya Balan is irresistible throughout, perfectly balancing between being play full and determined as the Bhabhi (aunty) from Virar who may not win the race but never fails to dream.
Manav Kaul, as Vidya Balan’s doting husband Ashok is natural and works as an ideal support that helps in giving a proper understanding of Sulu to the audience. He may not be the one which we see normally but the actor makes the character believable with his acting powers.
Neha Dhupia as the radio channel head is a perfect fit. She looks gorgeous and delivers a controlled and matured performance making the audience love her character as well after Vidya’s.
Other supporting actors like Vijay Maurya as the writer Pankaj and popular RJ Malishka (Mendonsa) chip in with their support by staying perfectly natural. Child actor Abhishek Sharma is fine.
Technicalities are fine with top rate production values. Saurabh Goswami’s cinematography captures the milieu of the suburban locality of Sulu's household and the flashy interiors of the radio channel office with perfection. Shivkumar Panicker’s editing is fine. Music is functional and it sounds good while one is watching.
All said and done, TUMHARI SULU is a feel good cinema that should not be missed, the one that makes you fall in love with someone you love, your family and of course Vidya Balan.