T-Series and Ellipsis Entertainment’s Tumhari Sulu is a slice-of-life film about a middle-class housewife.
Sulochana a.k.a. Sulu (Vidya Balan) leads a middle-class life in Bombay, living with her husband, Ashok (Manav Kaul), and school-going son, Pranav (master Abhishek Sharma). A school-dropout, she is happy winning prizes in contests held on radio or in game competitions in her housing society and the like but yearns to do something to supplement the income of her husband who works in a garment factory. Her father, two elder twin sisters and brothers-in-law keep asking her to take up a permanent job.
One day, she gets to know that Wow FM radio station is on the lookout for a new radio jockey. Although she has no experience, she offers herself for the job. At first critical, Wow radio head Maria (Neha Dhupia) sees a spark in her due to her simplicity and honesty, and she hires her on a handsome salary, much to the discomfort of show producer, writer and RJ Pankaj (Vijay Maurya). The only hitch is that it’s a late-night show for which Sulu has to be at the radio station every night. She is trained to talk sexily and naughtily to the callers on the live show.
Sulu does it in the first day’s show itself. The show’s, and Sulu’s popularity keeps growing but soon, Ashok and Sulu’s other family members start voicing their reservations about Sulu talking to autorickshaw drivers and the like, that too, on topics which could be considered taboo. But Sulu is adamant to continue with the radio show as she experiences a new-found confidence.
Soon, Ashok loses his job and his frustration grows further. And then, something so terrible happens that Sulu has to rethink about whether she would like to continue as a radio jockey or not.
What is the incident which brings Sulu on the crossroads? Does she quit as the RJ or does she continue? Does Ashok support her or, like her sisters and father, does Ashok also dissuade her?
Suresh Triveni’s story is fresh and beautifully presents the life of a middle-class school dropout who suddenly gets a well-paying job but which has a bit of a social stigma attached to it. The first half is full of light moments as the story gives you a peek into middle-class living in Bombay. The film takes a fairly serious turn after interval and there are some heart-touching emotions too which will bring tears to the eyes of the weak-hearted. The climax, especially when Sulu is explaining herself to Maria and when Pankaj reacts to her explanation, is tear-jerking. Suresh Triveni has written a lovely screenplay, with additional screenplay by Vijay Maurya. The screenplay is fast-paced and engaging, not letting the audience get bored at all. A few scenes, especially in the second half, may appear a bit repetitive but that’s not much of an aberration. The screenplay so beautifully captures the middle-class mentality of Sulu and her family members that the viewer can’t help but admire the writers’ eye for authenticity. And this is evident in every action, every movement and every dialogue of Sulu.
Dialogues (by Suresh Triveni; additional dialogues by Vijay Maurya) are lovely and many of them touch the heart. Making Sulu speak in Bambaiya Hindi makes her character so much more real.
Vidya Balan lives the role of Sulu and shines as she often does. She is simply excellent in every scene – whether humorous, dramatic, emotional or even as the sexy-voiced RJ. Her stocky built is a bit of an eyesore but her performance quite makes up for it. Manav Kaul plays Ashok with a lot of conviction at his command. Master Abhishek Sharma delivers a truly fine performance as Pranav. Neha Dhupia makes her character of Maria very believable with a fantastic performance. She is supremely natural. This talented girl deserves more and meaty roles. Vijay Maurya is simply extraordinary. He often has short or no dialogues to mouth but his expressions and body language are to die for. See, for instance, how he expresses his frustration, amusement, bewilderment and even helplessness. Full marks to this under-rated reservoir of talent! Santanu Ghatak lends excellent support as the horrible young boss of Ashok. Malishka Mendonsa lends decent support as RJ Albeli Anjali. Seema Taneja and Sindhu Shekharan make their presence amply felt as Sulu’s sisters. Sonel Singh has her moments as Radio Wow’s receptionist. Trupti Khamkar shines as the Ola driver. Ayushmann Khurrana lends star value in a special appearance. Mahesh Pillai (as the school principal), Uday Lagoo (as Sulu’s father), Ajoy Chakraborty and Mandeep Kumar (both as Sulu’s brothers-in-law), Raghu Sawhney (as Mathuradas brother 1), Vidhyadhar Karmakar (as Mathuradas brother 2), Abdul Majid Sheikh, Bachan Pachera, Asha Joshi, Hitesh Dave and Latafat Shaikh (all as employees of the garment factory), Kavya Pande (as the radio executive), Siven Sankaran Devendran (as the tiffin vendor), Sandeep Punj (as the papad client executive), Tanuj Garg (as the papad client), Bhumika Dube (as the gym receptionist) and the others lend the necessary support.
Suresh Triveni’s direction is lovely. Not only has the director extracted good work from out of his actors but he has also kept the narrative pace fast and interesting. Musically, ‘Ban ja rani’, composed by Guru Randhawa and Rajat Nagpal, is the best number and is already very popular. The ‘Hawa Hawai’ song from Mr. India, recreated by Tanishk Bagchi, is entertaining. Lyrics (by Guru Randhawa, Vayu, Siddhant Kaushal and Santanu Ghatak) are appropriate. Rajeev Surti’s choreography of the ‘Hawa Hawai’ song is eye-filling. Vijay Ganguly’s picturisation of ‘Ban ja rani’ is quite good. Karishma Chavan’s choreography of the ‘Farrata’ song is so-so. Karan Kulkarni’s background music is effective. Saurabh Goswami’s cinematography is nice. Dhara Jain’s production designing is appropriate. Shivkumar Panicker’s editing is excellent.
On the whole, Tumhari Sulu is a heartwarming entertainer and it will, therefore, score at the box-office. Its positive word of mouth will see collections rising.