Photo Credit: Amazon/Rising Sun Films/Kino Works
Gulabo Sitabo releases in less than a week on Amazon Prime Video. Starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, Gulabo Sitabo will be the first major Bollywood movie to skip theatres entirely and release directly on streaming services, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that's keeping cinemas shut across India.
It's caused a furore within the film industry, dividing stakeholders. Cinema chains have expressed their disappointment, with INOX going so far to warn of “retributive measures”. On the other hand, the producers guild has asked everyone to be more understanding, given the massive amounts of money riding on big films, and the additional pressures faced by its members.
“We are unequivocally and passionately supportive of theatrical release [but for] producers to keep 'producing' the movies that light up our cinema screens, they need to be in business in the first place,” the Producers Guild of India said, while terming INOX's response “abrasive and unconstructive”.
It's all good news for consumers though, who get to see Bachchan and Khurrana in a new movie from the comfort of their homes. In fact, it's the first digital release for either.
Gulabo Sitabo marks the fifth partnership for frequent collaborators Shoojit Sircar (the director) and Juhi Chaturvedi (the writer), after the 2012 rom-com Vicky Donor (also with Khurrana), the 2013 political action thriller Madras Cafe (with dialogues from Chaturvedi), the 2015 comedy-drama Piku (also with Bachchan), and the 2018 coming-of-age October. Sircar and Chaturvedi have solely worked with each other during an eight-year period that leads into Gulabo Sitabo.
Ronnie Lahiri and Sheel Kumar are the film's producers. Gulabo Sitabo is a production of Rising Sun Films, in association with Kino Films.
From release date to cast, here's all you need to know about Gulabo Sitabo.
Bachchan and Khurrana lead the Gulabo Sitabo cast as Mirza Sheikh and Baankey Sodhi respectively. Sheikh is the cantankerous owner of a dilapidated mansion and Sodhi is his tenant.
Bachchan was last seen in the Marathi film AB Anni CD — released May 1 — in a cameo appearance. His last major role was in Sujoy Ghosh's Badla last year, opposite Taapsee Pannu. Khurrana's most recent movie was Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan.
Gulabo Sitabo also stars Vijay Raaz (Gully Boy) as an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India, which seemingly declares Sheikh's mansion as a historical site; Brijendra Kala (The Aam Aadmi Family), Srishti Shrivastava (Girls Hostel), and Farrukh Jafar (Secret Superstar).
Amazon released the first and only trailer for Gulabo Sitabo on May 22. It introduced the primary characters, and set up the film's premise and the dynamic between the two leads.
Here's the official plot synopsis for Gulabo Sitabo, from Rising Sun Films:
“Shoojit Sircar's quirky dramedy is the tale of two slimy scheming foxes in a game of one-upmanship, each one attracting other members to their clan and each one with an agenda of his own.
“Meet Mirza (Bachchan), a 78-year-old landlord, who would move heaven and earth for his most prized possession: an old dilapidated mansion in the heart of Lucknow. But this garden of roses comes with its own cluster of prickly thorns: tenants. Amongst them, most prominently, Baankey (Khuranna), a shrewd, sly and squatted tenant, who matches Mirza bit for bit in their ceaseless bantering.
“Gulabo Sitabo is a slice-of-life where Mirza and Baankey are like Tom and Jerry, unique and unmatched, friend and foe, naughty and smart, little and large, all combining to produce chaos.”
Zee Music — the rights' holder for the Gulabo Sitabo soundtrack — released the first single “Jootam Phenk” on May 26. The second single “Madari Ka Bandar” was released on June 3.
The full Gulabo Sitabo album, with all 10 songs, is now available across all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, YouTube Music, Gaana, JioSaavn, Wynk Music, and Hungama.
Amazon hasn't confirmed if it'll be providing critics early access to Gulabo Sitabo, which means that reviews will likely not be available prior to release.
Here's the official Gulabo Sitabo poster:
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