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Posted at: Nov 17, 2017, 6:46 PM; last updated: Nov 17, 2017, 7:16 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: TUMHARI SULU

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Film: Tumhari Sulu

  • Cast: Vidya Balan, Manav Kaul, Neha Dhupia, Malishka Mendonsa
  • Director: Suresh Triveni
You can surely tune in to this show
A still from Tumhari Sulu

Nonika Singh

Hello… who can put a face behind that voice which emanates each day from several radio stations? Yes, the very sound that can be soothing, chirpy, ebullient and even jarring at times.  But when Tumhari Sulu aka Vidya Balan holds the microphone, it’s a sexy drawl, the kind that makes men go weak in the knees. Only while Tumhari Sulu is a late night show targeted at adult males, the woman behind the voice is no sex bomb. She is just another hausfrau, who finds her métier as a RJ. 

How and why…for this twelfth fail is no ordinary bimbo but a spirited confident woman and a ‘winner’ too. Never mind she wins sundry competitions like a lemon and spoon race and one such contest brings her face to face with a radio channel. Thus begins her new journey. A housewife finding her voice and identity isn’t a new theme.  Both real and reel life is full of such examples. What’s new is how the saree-clad simple woman transforms into a sexy agony aunt, perhaps a siren too in the imagination of her listeners. Offering them home-spun wisdom all the while peeling peas, Vidya Balan as that housewife-cum-RJ is just perfect. 

Even when she giggles a bit too much she doesn’t get on your nerves. In fact, actors sail through in the film even when it moves to choppy waters. Be it Manav Kaul, the actor whose menacing act we have seen before in films like Wazir. Here, as Sulochana urf Sulu’s self-effacing husband Ashok, ready to back his wife all the way, even press her feet, he cuts a new picture—a fine one at that. 

Neha Dhupia as the radio channel’s rather empathetic boss Maria is equally good and refreshing. In the world of motor mouth RJs this, kavi mahashay Pankaj (Vijay Maurya) may stand as a sore thumb; but not in the film where his performance is truly earnest. Actually, the film is sincere too. With its heart in the right place it tries to do a trapeze act: balancing modern and good old values. At times it falters and at other it succeeds, especially when Sulu is pitched against her staid twin sisters. 

Comfortable in the old-fashioned job of bank employees, their sparring is both amusing and revealing. Indeed, her otherwise supportive husband’s anguish with her sexy avatar is understandable too. But when the plot moves to pre-pubescent schoolboys, one of which is Sullu and Ashok’s son, it seems to be opening too many fronts.  May be the director is trying to draw a parallel between repressed desires of young boys and grown up men. But though the film wades in risqué waters, it only flirts with the subject at the surface level. 

As one of the callers even calls her beti, clearly it doesn’t cross the line. But the good thing is as long as it stays with its key protagonist… it’s all good. If the story’s depth had matched Vidya’s lively performance, it would have been a must watch. But, Vidya and her co-actors make it more than watchable nevertheless. Vidya comes up trumps more than once, especially in the climax. Watch her malleable emotive face when she is telling her boss how she, who always believes mein kar sakti hai, needs to quit. Clearly she is pressing the right buttons, dil ke, hers and ours.

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