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“For the houses we construct and the bonds we create” – encapsulates the essence of the film. This family drama delves into the myriad complexities that families experience, ranging from property disputes and interpersonal conflicts to the pursuit of individual lifestyles. Regardless of one’s achievements or destination, the family remains a driving force, and the journey ultimately finds its culmination at home. Just as each day commences and concludes within the confines of one’s dwelling. Director Rahul V. Chittella artfully explores the beauty and significance of familial ties.
However, within this simple concept, various subplots emerge, creating a sense of multiple concurrent narratives. At one moment, two adults discuss housing matters, while in the next, religious and cultural divisions come to the forefront. Soft romantic connections develop between the cook and caretaker, juxtaposed with conflicts like Arun’s disagreements with his son regarding living arrangements.
Gulmohar commences with a farewell celebration hosted by Kusum Batra, the family matriarch, who decides to mark the festival of Holi for the final time before bidding adieu to their long-standing family residence in preparation for a new life in Pondicherry. This decision profoundly affects her son Arun Batra and the entire family. Reactions vary from approval to disapproval. As the family members have only four days to vacate the house and transition to new beginnings, the ensuing emotional rollercoaster unfolds over this brief span.
The story revolves around a joint family during their final four days residing in their 31-year-old ancestral home, Gulmohar, before embarking on a new chapter in a different city. Within these four days, the family navigates highs and lows, grappling with heartbreaks and moments of affection. The central question remains: will they grasp the true worth of family and the essence of togetherness?
Witnessing veteran actress Sharmila Tagore’s return to the screen is a delight. Her timeless beauty, innocence, trademark dimpled smile, and grace are impossible to overlook. Sharmila embodies the role of Kusum Batra, the family matriarch who decides to depart her home and family one day, opting to live life on her own terms.
Manoj Bajpayee embodies the character of Arun Batra, Kusum’s adopted son, whose primary goal is to preserve family unity. Despite his son’s desire to live independently, Arun endeavours to persuade him to stay. He is a true family man, finding his contentment in the happiness and harmony of his loved ones. Even with access to abundant luxury, Arun’s fulfilment hinges on his family. Undoubtedly, Manoj Bajpayee stands as one of Bollywood’s finest actors. He seamlessly immerses himself in his characters, and his portrayal of a father and son’s helplessness is remarkably poignant. His performance evokes a palpable sense of sadness and frustration, capturing the essence of his character in Gulmohar. Simran portrays Indu, Arun’s wife and Kusum’s daughter-in-law. While she respects her mother-in-law in front of her, she reveals her true feelings behind her back, showcasing the familiar dynamic of a daughter-in-law. Simran’s character is relatable and well-crafted, adding depth to the narrative. Suraj Sharma depicts Aditya Batra, Arun’s son, skillfully navigating his emotional and resolute sides. Balancing his frustrations over his app’s lack of funding with his commitment to his wife, Aditya wrestles with family conflicts while striving for personal success. Suraj delivers a fantastic performance.Amol Palekar brings Arun’s uncle to life, a character disliked by most ,despite the character’s disagreeable traits, Amol’s portrayal lends a lovable quality to him, showcasing his acting prowess.
What truly stands out is Rahul V. Chittella’s ability to capture aesthetics and present them engagingly to the audience. While the film occasionally loses its narrative focus due to numerous subplots, the core essence remains intact. The story of Gulmohar is penned by Arpita Mukherjee and Rahul V. Chittella. While their intention was to emphasize the significance of family bonds, multiple subplots, such as Reshma’s love story and the LGBTQ angle with Amrita’s affection for another girl, add complexity. This abundance of storylines creates a sense of overwhelm within the two-hour runtime.
Siddhartha Khosla provides the film’s music, which is soothing and thoughtfully composed, aligning well with the movie’s theme.
In conclusion, Gulmohar is a family drama that showcases classic actors and delivers insightful reflections on life and relationships.