Written by Manisha Lakhe
Sulu, Sulu Ka Husband, Sulu Ki Boss, Sulu Ke Co-workers
Sulu Ki Ideas, Sab Acche Hain!
Sulochana likes to compete, and she wins at most things. Whether it is a Pressure Cooker for a Radio Call In show or a spoon and lemon race at her son’s school. She takes a chance and becomes an RJ too. Her sexy late night call-in job alarms her rather middle class family and you’ll love her dexterity in handling them all. Delightful watch.
Vidya Balan is Sulochana. She’s a wonderful everywoman. Cooks for her husband and child while listening to the radio, singing along, does the groceries, and has a happy home until her family shows up. They’re not overachievers, but everyone is ‘settled’ at better jobs (in banks), better located homes, and everyone reminds Sulochana how she failed high school not once, not twice but three times.
While Vidya lashes out at her family ineffectively, practically everyone in the audience has instantly empathy with her. After who doesn’t have a family that won’t let you forget your flaws? Thankfully her husband Ashok, played wonderfully by Manav Kaul, is a great foil to her bubbly energy. They share such a wonderful relationship, you will want to call your spouse and confess your love to them. It’s very rare to see so much comfort between the two protagonists, and kudos to the writer/director: Suresh Triveni.
As Sulochana picks up her radio call-in prize, she notices this ‘You Can Be An RJ too!’ Her competitive instinct rises up and she asks, no demands, that she be given a chance. She wears a saree, she looks so unlike what you’d think a ‘cool’ radio jockey might look like, that you understand RJ Malishka (a real life radio jockey, who plays Albeli Anjali in the film), Neha Dhupia (who marvelously plays the head of the radio station) and Vijay Maurya is brilliant as the Radio Producer/Writer who at first hates, then tolerates and then falls in love with Sulu.
The best part of the film is now how Sulu finds her inner Helen to seduce the late night callers. It is not even Vidya Balan’s fight to doing what she thinks is right for her. It is not how her face is so expressive and her joys and sorrows and regrets are written in her eyes. The best part of the film could be her polite (but nasty) family, the lovely lady cabbie, the receptionist who juggles an angry argument with the canteen chap and politely answers the phone in the middle of that argument. The best part of the film is not how film references are made to Sridevi and Hema Malini. It is when Manav Kaul strips to seduce his wife. The whole sequence is so unique and so brilliantly done, that the song doesn’t intrude on our senses, it feels like a natural extension.
Then comes the part where there’s guilt, jealousy and you see the fun household falling apart. This is where the second half of the film gets really predictable. And you wish they had done things differently. But then, which housewife gets a job as an RJ? You are swept along with the tide, laughing and crying and laughing again with the ebullient Vidya Balan and Manav Kaul.
Yes, Sulu laughs a little too much and for too long, overdoes the ‘happy happy joy joy’ bit. But Vidya Balan’s talent shines through and you are happy to let the warmth of the film envelop you like your favorite quilt.
(This review appears on nowrunning dot com)