Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Hindi film Goodbye starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rashmika Mandanna. From its trailer it seemed like a satire on a funeral after the entire family reunites following the death of the mother. Films based on death and funerals need to be very subtle and gentle especially with the humour element involved. The reason is the setting where you do not associate any bits of humour whatsoever. And so the only form of humour can be observational and for that the writing game needs to be strong. Earlier too we had seen a similar setting in the Malayalam film Ee Ma Yau and the Hindi film Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi which were simply outstanding and the pinnacle of the films belonging to this genre. That said, I must admit that its trailer did look promising and a fine balance between humour and the emotions at play. So then is Goodbye worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Goodbye follows the story of a grand family union after a death in the family. This similar plot was seen in the Hindi series Sutliyan although the beats in that screenplay were very different. The screenplay here standing at almost 150 minutes is a tad too long given its subject which can tend to get heavy after a point. Wrapping the drama inside 2 hours would have been a better option. However, the screenplay does quite a lot to put a smile on your face after shedding buckets of tears.
The drama has a very interesting setup. You are introduced to one of the protagonists in a setting that definitely gives you a sneak peek inside her head. The slow buildup leading to the revelation of her mother’s death sets the ball rolling for the drama to follow. In between, you also get to see her father with a totally different ideology and that is when you know that there is bound to be friction between them.
The drama moves at a leisurely pace which is filled with multiple emotions at the same time. So while you as a viewer would also feel a sense of void inside you(especially if you have lost someone close to you), you cannot help but smile at the black humour which is carried out at the funeral. Funerals generally comprise of friends and relatives(other than the family members) that do land up to pay their last rites but also bring with them some weird customs and rituals. I had lost my grandma almost 5 years back and was witness to a similar setting then. In the film when one of the character retorts against the “mindless” rituals, everyone around her expresses their displeasure, something that I found immensely relatable.
The humour element is done so well that it accounts for some really funny sequences amidst the setting which almost demands to be serious. The tone of the drama is constantly switching between comedy and drama(especially in the first hour), and so you as a viewer are also swaying between these two emotions. So while the comedy will put a smile on your face, the drama which is quite heartfelt will make you teary eyed. For those critics who are mentioning as to why there is humour in the drama have either not watched enough cinema or have some sort of agenda(why am I not surprised). This is a very different film for the Hindi viewers and so it needs to be felt to truly understand its emotions.
Another interesting aspect in the screenplay is related to the character dynamics which are related to the personal beliefs leading to friction between them. And the screenplay doesn’t take sides here but instead chooses to reason things out. This includes an extended sequence featuring the ashes submerging wherein it compares beliefs to science using some interesting anecdotes which give an explanation to the customs leading to the realisation for one of the characters.
But the second hour has its share of flaws too. The sequences lack the fluidity of the first hour and instead feel disjointed. So while the sequences do work individually, the transition is an issue here. But as the humour dries out considerably, the emotional quotient is on point wherein you do feel every emotion in the drama which may make you reminisce your time with the loved ones that you lost along the way. The proceedings are moving and they would definitely soften you up while you would end up shedding some tears. But the screenplay doesn’t stop here. It offers you some lovely anecdotes like the beautiful kite sequence or the “right turn” sequence which symbolize the art of letting go of things instead of holding them. It is a positive film in many ways than one although I do feel that the screenplay does drag a bit in the second hour. For critics who are calling this ” A Spiritual Sequel Of Baghban” have just analyzed it from one angle. Overall, the screenplay might be a tad too long but it will leave a smile on your face at the end while you do shed some tears as well.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues range from being witty and funny to being poignant and heartfelt. And the lines are beautifully penned and extremely poignant and effective in their communication. The music by Amit Trivedi is outstanding and it goes so well with the drama. Really wish to listen to more of Amit Trivedi and his compositions in times to come. The BGM has a touch of melancholy to it which makes for a heartfelt symphony. The cinematography and editing are decent here. Director Vikas Bahl does a pretty good job here in balancing humour with emotions in the first hour although he does overindulge a little in the second hour where the film drags. But if I was able to resonate with the multiple emotions at play, the director deserves a lot of credit for that.
The performances are outstanding here. The film marks one of the last performances of veteran actor Arun Bali whom we lost on Friday on the day of the release of this film. He is really good here and he will definitely be missed going forward. Annapurna Soni and Divya Seth Shah contribute to so many hilarious moments in the first hour that will put a smile on your face. Faara is pretty good as well. They are both absolutely first rate. Ashish Vidyarthi as PP is outstanding, a character portrayed on that one uncle who always puts forth his opinion as far as customs as rituals are concerned. Sunil Grover is brilliant and adds a lot of depth to his character.
Sahil Mehta as Angad as his moments to shine. Abhishek Khan as Nakul is sincere. Elli AvrRam as Daisy has done a good job as well. Payal Thapa is incredibly good and she does a fine job here. Pavail Gulati is quite a natural onscreen. Neena Gupta as Gayatri is an absolute delight to watch! The weaklink in a way is Rashmika Mandanna who does look pretty as Tara but struggles in the dialogue delivery. Clearly she wasn’t comfortable with the Hindi lines and probably someone could have dubbed for her. But it was the vereran Amitabh Bachchan who is absolutely magnificent as Harish. The amount of emotions he brings to the table while subtly emoting a very emotional scene was an absokute sight to witness. He owns each and every frame in the film and how!
Goodbye is an emotionally moving tale about loss with a dash of humour making it a good watch. Available in a theatre near you.