Gulmohar – My Flash Review!

Just the cast of some films piques your interest to watch them. With an ensemble cast of Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Simran and even Ghazal singer Talat Aziz in a cameo, Gulmohar is one such.  If ever you needed proof that Bollywood is flipping itself for the good after getting the rough end of the stick for the past 2/3 years, Gulmohar provides that.

As the film opens with a warm house party scene in a typical joint family setting in Delhi that too with the mellifluous singing of Talat Aziz, you know that all is not well under that calm veneer. Soon enough, we get to see the inner conflicts and the inner demons each of the family members is trying to cope with. As the elements of this dysfunctional family are revealed, one is reminded of many other Hindi films like Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham, Kapoor and Sons and even Monsoon Wedding. You get the drift of where the film goes from here and your interest then remains as to the “how” of it. In this regard, the film falters a bit in the 2nd half after setting the context very well in the 1st half. The falling in place of all the issues towards the end seems a bit artificial (like the interview sequence) but this is a minor quibble in an otherwise competent film.

Director Rahul Chittella who has also co-written the film with Arpita Mukherjee, it seems is a long-time associate of Mira Nair, the director of films like Monsoon Wedding, A Suitable Boy and so on. The Monsoon Wedding connection in the screenplay is therefore not difficult to miss. Just like the title, the director has given a very poetic look and feel to the film with the visuals, the music and even the dialogue. The songs are rightly placed and are soothing to the ears. Delhi, where the film is set Is filmed well.

The writing is subtle, nuanced and eminently relatable. In fact, some of the conversations between father & son, Husband & Wife etc… seem to echo our drawing rooms.  The film is elevated by some stellar performances from the stellar cast. Sharmila Tagore making a comeback after many years looks graceful and beautiful and notwithstanding her wearisome dialogue delivery, is adorable. As the strict and caring wife, daughter in law and mother, Simran does a repeat of her Kannathil Muthamittal act which I thought is her career best. For Manoj Bajpayee this is a walk-in-the-park role which he aces it as usual. It is good to see Amol Palekar in action these days and is in fine form. Anurag Arora, now a familiar face in the web series circuit in a short role leaves a positive impact.

As you watch Gulmohar, one cannot escape the sense of familiarity in many of the sequences but for the end which is quirky and comes as a surprise.  It is a film that has its emotions in the right places. I would recommend it as a Good Watch. It is streaming on Disney Hotstar.

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