A house is a provider in many ways for a family. It provides shelter, stability, space, privacy, ownership, and more.
One such portrayal is conveyed by a recent film called ‘Gulmohar’ on Disney Hotstar. The film starring Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar and Manoj Bajpayee is the story of Batra family, who are celebrating their last few days in the 34 years old ancestral house ‘Gulmohar’. The family is moving out with different ambitions and desires. But these last four days are enough to make them revisit their individual lives and their relationships with each other as a family.
There are several plots in the film, yet they coincide because of the house ‘Gulmohar’, which is no more home now. Batra family symbolises traditional gender roles and family hierarchy. The film strongly emphasises family bonds and the importance of caring for elders. But that care and respect change when Kusum (Sharmila Tagore) hides her late husband’s will from her adopted son Arun (Manoj Bajpayee). The story takes a U-turn, when the dynamics of a mother-son relationship changes in those last four days in ‘Gulmohar’. A dispute arises among family members due to the father’s will, as he cleverly excludes Arun from it. Shattered Arun, goes through an emotional upheaval, while he himself has an estranged relationship with his son Aditya (Suraj Sharma). Arun meets his birth father, and with time, he comes to appreciate the value of his chosen family. Family forget their differences and come together to celebrate the festival of Holi with joy and enthusiasm.
With Holi, India celebrates the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. It is beautiful to see how the festival that embodies forgiveness, love, and unity in Indian families, becomes the occasion for Batras to mark their new beginning. The festival also promotes the value of respecting and honouring one’s elders and seeking their blessings. The film’s last sequence reinforces the importance of maintaining strong family ties and relationships. The film encourages people to value their families and create a supportive environment for each other. Batra house ‘Gulmohar’ represents beauty, strength, resilience, vibrancy, and connection to India’s culture and traditions. The movie commences with a celebration, and it concludes by rejoicing in the customs and relationships within an Indian household.
The lead actors- Manoj Bajpayee and Sharmila Tagore, deliver a powerful performance, conveying the depth and complexity of the character’s emotional journey. The film’s dialogues are witty and clever, contributing to the intricacy of the characters and their relationships. The film has a flow and strikes a chord with both you and me. Overall, the film is a moving and thought-provoking exploration of grief, loss, and the power of human connection. Although it may not appeal to everyone, it is a must-see for those seeking a deep and meaningful cinematic experience.
(The writer is a film critic and Assistant Professor, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi)