So last week me and two of my neighbors sent our children to school, husbands to office and rushed in to catch the first show of Tuesday in our local Inox, because the tickets are just Rs 80 and you can get back home by the time your children return from school. Why am I starting my review with this inane rendering of an ordinary thing? Because that is what Sulu or Sulochana could have done, if she decided to see a movie.
To say I loved Tumhari Sulu could be an understatement; I rejoiced in it. Because after a long time, I saw in a movie a struggle that me, an 40 year old homemaker, goes through. Not only me, my two friends who were about my age or a little younger, felt the same. And that is why this movie is going to be a super hit. Because it portrays the inner struggle of my generation of women everywhere in India.
Why I said my generation is because we grew up in the time India was opening up; we were the first middle class families that own computers in home and glimpsed at the world in our house through Cable TV. Our elder sisters and cousins grew up with the belief that they have to get at least a school or college degree (depending on where they lived) because that will mean a good “rista”. Very few went to college with a career in mind; it happened only when your parents/in-laws were “progressive” or if you needed a job for financial reason. But our generation were told that we should study for a career; my father got me into NIIT because computer was THE job of our generation. Of course getting us married was also a priority; and many of us chose the path of being a housewife.
You can say then what was the difference with your previous generation? The difference is that, if we chose to be housewife, the society asked why? “What!! you are not doing anything after studying from NIIT”? “What!! you are not working? Weren’t you working as a HR Manager”? And that hurt us somewhere. Somewhere in our mind we feel we have done injustice to all the money and time our parents spent on getting us educated and worthy of a job!! And so like Sulu, we try at every opportunity to show that we have something in us; that we are not “just housewife” and that we can do anything, if we want and get the support. I think that is what makes Sulu participate in her son’s school parent’s race, or enter contest anywhere she can; as I look forward to debate competition in my husband’s office or entering contest whenever I can. Like her, I count at the end of year or month on what I have won because we may not have a high flying job, we at least have that!!
The worst thing that our generation faces again is that, the moment we start working, it has to be a second priority. Our home, our children, our husband should always come first. The same people (like Sulu’s twin sister whom I hated so much because they were so real) who criticized us for wasting our opportunities, will berate us if our sons get poor marks in school, or if my husband has to look after them for a change. I think we will be the last generation to feel that; the young girls I know and admire, like the fantastic group of bloggers I am part of (you know who you are), my nieces, all of them they know what they want. They know that they have to work and that marriage will happen when they want and so will starting a family. I am sure they will be less conflicted at this duality our generation face; because even if they choose to be a housewife and a mother, it will be their choice and no one’s else.
So to come back to the movie; it is the story of an ordinary housewife who gets a chance to be a RJ and that too of a late night show. Her callers are creeps whom she tackles easily while shelling peas!!! Her husband was her choice and is in a dead beat job where the new management treats him more like a peon than a manager. There is no conflict as such; but a little incident of her son running away from home because he was caught smuggling his phone to school, and as usual, it was the woman’s fault for working late (it didn’t matter that the boy was doing that when his mother was not working!!). So I was sure that it was going to be another of those Lipstick Under My Burkha kind of ending; but thankfully Sulu’s resourcefulness is put to full use. She launches a catering service with her husband being the main face (and so no need of that crappy job he was in) and she continues to work as the RJ.
Coming to acting, as usual Vidya Balan was outstanding. There is not a single moment where she looks nothing but the “bhabiji” next door. The actor playing the husband was equally good; they made such a believable couple that there were scenes which seemed like copied from my home!! (Namely children spoiling some romance time). Neha Dhupia was also good as the Radio station producer and the actresses playing the role of Sulu’s elder twin sister were so natural that you will think you have met them. There was not one character that was unbelievable or who did not look suitable for the role he or she was playing.
So my dear sisters; if you are bogged down with the constant demand of being the perfect housewife, the perfect mother and the perfect working woman, take a time off and catch Tumhari Sulu in your nearest movie hall. And of course take your girl gang with you.