Goodbye Review: Amitabh Bachchan, Rashmika Mandanna starrer touches a piece of your heart with a beautifully woven plot
Director: Vikas Bahl
Bollywood Bubble rating: 4/5 stars
Goodbye Movie Review
That one last call, that one last hug, that one last meeting, we all want that last ‘Goodbye’ with our loved ones, before they leave this world for their humble abode. The movie Goodbye, directed and written by Vikas Bahl, is a perfect blend of that; an amalgamation of how a family processes through the death of a loved one and life after that. The beautifully woven plot, the well-executed screenplay not only keeps you engrossed throughout the movie but also leaves you in surprise with the fact of how the director-writer plays with your emotions, with a bout of humour. Why, I’d say that? You’ll know!
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Ahead of the movie screening, the scene at the cinema hall was strangely chaotic. Everyone was waiting for the movie to start, friends meeting friends, colleagues interacting, so on and so forth. The movie is about to begin and everyone is in their seats. The first scene opens with Rashmika Mandanna (Tara Bhalla), playing a young girl, who according to her father Harish Bhalla (Amitabh Bachchan) enjoys to party whenever something calls for a celebration. She is constantly being pinged by her parents. However, she fails to receive any phone calls. In such a situation, the battery of her mobile phone also runs off. Cut to- The Next morning.
Tara Bhalla wakes up to the sound of the door bell. A bar waiter is at her doorstep, with her mobile phone, that she left at the bar. In a very expected turn of events, Tara gets a shocking news about home, as shown in the trailer. A heart-shattering news that she did not expect during early hours of the day. Her mother, Gayatri Bhalla (Neena Gupta) is no more. And, her father, Harish Bhalla (Amitabh Bachchan) has tried his best to contact his daughter throughout the night.
Here, Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of a father (Harish Bhalla) who is not so pleased with the modern-day lifestyle of his children. He is constantly at a war of words with them. While the family drama continues, the movie picks pace when Tara Bhalla travels her way back home.
And, Vikas Bahl’s funeral drama unfolds from there on. The theatre is in drop silence throughout the first half. When I say everyone, every person in the room was hooked on to the screen. And, one would only laugh at a funny scene. But, what added to the experience was the tears flowing in the room. When the interval kicked in, I walked through the crowd to step out and grab some popcorn. What surprisingly moved my heart was watching teary-eyed faces in a room full of strangers.
Despite Gayatri Bhalla not being a loved one, one could relate with the situation that every member of the Bhalla family was in. A sense of connection was easily built in the first half. And, the director made sure of that, with his perfectly entwined plot.
Believe me when I say this, the first half builds it so much for you, you are left wondering what’s next? Not only because Goodbye is a fresh, content-driven script, but also because, you are laughing, weeping, and experiencing all sorts of emotions. And, while my expectations went quite out of the window, wondering how the director would manage the second half, let me tell you, oh, he did it quite amazingly!
A funeral drama which highlights the situation that the Bhalla family undergoes after the sudden and untimely death of a very important family member, Gayatri Bhalla, a mother to four and wife to Harish Bhalla. The plot revolves around how her husband, Harish Bhalla tries to connect with their kids, who are living their separate lives, to inform them about the death of their mother.
Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Harish Bhalla, father of Rashmika, Pavail, Sahil and others. He is the husband of Gayatri Bhalla (Neena Gupta). Big B plays the stubborn father, who is constantly at a war of words with his children. Or either, he is taunting them about their way of living. Sr Bachchan slips into his role of Harish Bhalla quite effortlessly and keeps you connected with him. He brings forward every Indian father who is protective of his children, although they want to be independent, via his performance.
Rashmika Mandanna makes the right choice for her Bollywood movie debut with Goodbye. The film sees her playing the role of Tara Bhalla, a rebellious young girl, who is as stubborn as her father. She is on a constant quest of understanding the logic between everything. Be it the logic behind the traditions followed after the death of a person, or the immersion of the ashes in a river, Rashmika aka Tara tries to find the logic behind all. Mandanna delivers a stellar performance as Tara Bhalla, a lawyer by profession. And, her performance as Tara is convincible. But, I watched Sita Ramam, her previous Telugu movie and found her playing a similar role of such, a rebelious character, questioning the rights and wrongs.
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Neena Gupta plays Gayatri Bhalla. One can say her character acts like ‘glue’ that keeps every character connected with each other. She is an important element in the movie and nothing would have seemed that great without Gupta’s awesomeness. Neena Gupta is the breath of fresh air in the movie in all the beautiful and sad moments of her with her family.
Pavail Gulati essays the role of Karan Bhalla, the older, scholar son, an NRI, married to a foreigner, Elli AvrRam (Daisy). Gulati enacts his character well as the ignorant son, who is more focused on ‘earning money’ and ‘wrapping up’ his mother’s funeral rituals. Elli AvrRam aka Daisy is the sweet foreigner Bahu and she is just that! Elli manages to grab your attention with her innocence and antics. Be it when she is completely unaware about how one dons only white and not black at a funeral, or how a Hindu meal comes without the Chicken.
Ashish Vidyarthi, the know it all uncle and Sunil Grover aka Panditji are two characters in the movie that add the humour and sense element. While Ashish Vidyarthi brings humour in the first half, Sunil Grover quite effortlessly impresses with his spirituality in the second half. Shivin Narang, and Abhishekh Khan in their roles do not miss to shine.
The first half of the film builds the funeral scene at every household. Here, the director shows his creativity by adding humour to a situation of such. He perfectly executes minute situations circling around the neighbors who visit the home, after a member of the family has passed away. One starts relating to the scenes when there is one person, who is the know it all in terms of customs or traditions, solely because “Maine yeh bohot baar kiya hai (Have attended many funerals).”
Not just that, we also have the ‘pados wali chachi group’ or as they may fondly call them ‘Gayatri ki Bubbliyaan’. The director manages to add humour to a sad and emotional situation, with moments like the group of women ‘chachi’s’ are so wasted that all they think about is ‘How to create a group to remember Gayatri Bhalla after her passing’. They also come with funny WhatsApp group names like ‘Harish Needs Us’ and ‘Gone Gayatri Gone’; heights of stupidity we would say. But, Bahl smartly gives a glimpse of the scene in every household that lost a loved one.
The screenplay has a few key elements well executed by Bahl. In one scene, Amitabh Bachchan handling the preparations for his wife’s funeral, forgets he’s wearing his chappals or Pavail calling out to ‘Mumma’, later to find out she is no more, breaks your heart.
The director of Photography, Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti, with Bahl, brings out his best in the scene with Sr Bachchan. The actor is crying inconsolably, while immersing the ashes of his loved one. The boogey running down his nose is so beautifully captured that you feel disgusted for a second, but when as you understand his emotion; it kills you there!
Amit Trivedi does a good job with the music of Goodbye. The hard base and the soul touching melody with Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics strikes an emotional chord. The songs do not create a disturbance in the movie, despite it being a funeral drama, but instead make the movie meatier.
The Amitabh Bachchan and Rashmika Mandanna funeral drama is a heartwarming piece of art and it leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. While you are glued on to your seat, the plot is gripping, relatable and heart-winning in every way, for someone who has lost a loved one. Goodbye has its loopholes but it intends to leave you with a warm feeling.