Shujit Sirkar’s Gulabo Sitabo: a story of an old house

Radhakanta Barik

Hindi films always tell the stories of human being but here the story is about the old building. A hundred years old building draws attention many people. Camera moves on the building when there are many people. One group of people is tenants represented by Ayushman Khurrana who is speaking for them.  He is a rogue speaking rough words earning his livelihood in doing small business. Another family who lives there whose husband claims that it belongs to him, but the real owner is the woman who has intense love for the house. Her love is so much for the old house and she desires to leave her lover in young days who is now settled in London but marries this man as he wants to be son in law of the house by which she can retain the house. The woman is a generous person but her husband is a crude landlord. He wants the eviction of tenants or higher rent which the tenants are not ready to pay more. The landlord goes to police station complains about the tenants. The police say that they cannot intervene in the case as the tenants have rights to live there. They cannot be evicted without going to the court. The landlord goes to the lawyer and consults him. The lawyer wants the papers related to land and its ownership. The landlord’s Begum is the real owner, but her husband wants to collect her finger print without telling her the truth. She realizes it that while sleeping somebody has come there to take his finger prints. This creates doubt in her mind. She becomes very careful and suspicious of her husband and his dubious dealings. She puts gums in her fingers as she directs her fingers at him.

The story moves ahead with the coming of department of Archeology which looks at the palace from heritage point of view.  The heritage body looks at the bricks and tree and finds the house of hundred years old which can be used for the foreign tourists. They bring the tourists and show the importance of the palace and its furniture and windows and doors. This amazes the tourists. The tourists point of view is being taken seriously by the department of Archeology. In the meantime the builder cum politician enters into the scene and requests the lawyer to have the papers ready by which they can own the house and constructs the various flats. They create a hope in the minds of tenants that they will be occupying the small LIG flats within the new complex. The tenants are interested in the policy but the landlord is interested to have his money and his satisfaction of his greed. The builder has sent bag of money where everybody is jumping into it and collects bundles which shows the greedy nature of the landlord and other tenants. In the meantime the Landlord wants to satisfy the greedy nature he goes to the builder and wants to help them to get the house occupied. He wants the power of attorney from his wife who is the real owner. He wants gets it done quickly but the news of death of old woman reaches him. Then he hurries up to his house to her finger prints by which he can sell the house on the power of attorney. The builder brings a plan for creating his complex where many storied house will stand there in the place of the old palace. The archeology department hurries up for grabbing the palace by taking his team with a placard this is a heritage palace. In the meantime the message comes that the landlady is not dead but fled away from her to save the palace from the greedy eyes of her husband. She divorces him and remarries her lover. This brings the end of the story where the woman with her newly married husband with their children enters into the house and celebrates the birthday of the landlady.

Here the camera moves over the scene of the party in the palace. The landlord feels bad and walks alone in a desperate mood. The camera moves on the frustrated landlord walking alone in a bad mood while camera moves over him. Here Amitav Bachhan plays the central character of the story to tell the stories related to the palace. The palace is a living thing here that makes the landlady marries him as he wants to stay with him by keeping the palace. The story of palace brings out greediness of human being and both landlord and tenants who want to grab the house without owning it. The landlord’s greediness has been tasted by taking the old bulbs of the palace and selling it. This indicates that he has no regard for the old palace. The old landlord does not have love for the palace.

This is a beautiful human story telling the one important value of a human being that is greediness representing the palace. This is a very old value and with the education and modernity has not been able to control it. Today in rural Odisha even people start collecting the false signature or thumb mark for grabbing the property. Here the collaboration of the administrator as Sub Registrar is there. Sujit Sarkar as a story teller having a control over the narration without any hitch which he shows his apt handling of the story in PIKU where Amitav Bachhan was the main actor as here. His acting as an old landlord is extremely well done in the film.

Back to Home Page

Jun 26, 2020

Prof. Radhakanta Barik

Your Comment if any