Star Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Neena Gupta, Rashmika Mandanna, Pavail Gulati, Ashish Vidyarthi, Abhishekh Khan & ensemble.
Director: Vikas Bahl.
What’s Good: A story so personal that each one will relate to it. It’s a reminder of the pain you brushed under the carpet or the pain that you fear facing someday.
What’s Bad: The hygiene between humour and emotions in parts is missing which doesn’t blend the two very well.
Loo Break: If you feel the emotions to the core and can’t cry in public.
Watch or Not?: Watch, because even with the flaws Vikas Bahl brings unfiltered emotions and they touch the correct chord.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Available on: In Theatres Near You.
Runtime: 146 Minutes.
A nuclear family with parents and four children is scattered in different parts of the world. The mother suddenly passes away and now the entire camp needs to come under one roof to see her off one last time. The stories unfold, dynamics are put to test and the way to grieve loss is explored.
Goodbye Movie Review: Script Analysis
Hindi cinema in the past two years with films like Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, Pagglait, and a couple more have explored the idea of how one should deal with the biggest fear of life, someone close to you passing away. What circus it leads to, and do we really need to do the things we are conditioned to for ages now? Vikas Bahl with his writing brings another addition, a bit more contemporary to the table, and before anything else lets someone question his idea, he hits them with ultimate emotions. It’s a good thing, at least for him.
Written by Vikas, Goodbye is about a family that is dealing with the loss of the matriarch, and one who was the glue for this family that is borderline dysfunctional, but still together. So when these characters meet and talk to each other without any connection as compared to the blissful flashbacks, Bahl makes it very clear that he wants a tsunami of emotions and nostalgia to hit his viewers because that is how his story will sail. By opening the film to the tragedy and then slowly going back in time to make you meet what’s lacking between the characters until now, he connects the audience to his cinema. And as soon as the first glimpse of Neena Gupta fills the void, you as an audience have already shed at least a few tears.
Bear me if I use the word ‘emotion’ way too many times, but that is the one-word power that Goodbye thrives upon. The clear idea is to make you see the world without a mother figure and that could be subjective for everyone, but the bond and its absence remain the same. Vikas even beautifully succeeds in doing so. Because he isn’t only focusing on what’s gone, but even how life without her looks and will continue to in the future.
In his urge to create real people and conflicts he even adds humour to the script and majority of which is situational. But he also realises that his motive is to make people cry, so he also doesn’t invest much time in leading to the cremation. And dare you to hold back those tears, because even with some flaws, the feeling of a void we all are afraid of pierces our hearts and shatters it. Even a lifeless Neena Gupta lying on a block of ice is enough to make you feel all sad, and add to it she brings the most warmth as the story goes into flashbacks.
The idea about how one must grieve and who decides is explored quite well. A father who is angry with everything around him because he lost his anger, a son who makes him realise it isn’t just him who has lost someone, a daughter who has differences with the said father and now has to go through the conditioned rituals so that her mother achieves salvation. Everything lands home.
Not that the movie is as flawless as Bahl’s Queen which is another example of how well he knows to handle emotions. (We don’t talk about Shaandaar here). But Goodbye in parts lacks in the transition prowess. Mainly in the scenes between humour and emotional turn, it feels abrupt and you can feel the bump. The bump can also be felt when a new scene begins. Mostly because of the aforementioned transition, but also when Vikas decides to open them with some unlikely notes. Like when the father catches his son having s*x the night of his mother’s cremation and there is a reasoning to it, full marks for highlighting the modern-day problem, but how it begins is a bit weird.
Goodbye Movie Review: Star Performance
Amitabh Bachchan as an actor is evolving even at the age of 80 and with the megastar status only makes me respect him more with each passing day. He as the father of this camp has to be strong. Especially in two scenes where he is preparing for the funeral with no space to grieve and another where he finally gets a moment so talks to his wife’s ashes, my heart broke in each of them. You see the actor not taking his status for granted and my goodness he makes you feel every single emotion he enacts. Be it his dilemma, insecurities, anger, love, everything.
Neena Gupta is what we are exploring as the film happens. She is the epitome of everything good in one’s life and so cute that you cannot imagine someone like her lying on a pyre. There is warmth in her performance and every time she gets to romance Big B, she lives her dream to be the heroine that she forever deserved to be.
Rashmika Mandanna gives an earnest performance and it is a tough place to be because she shares the most screen time with Bachchan. The actor cries convincingly and you are invested in Tara because most of the conflict is around her. With a lot of responsibility, the actor walks the path pretty well. Full marks to the makers for letting her dub her own lines. But everytime someone points out the family is Punjabi and Tara is the real child and not adopted, the accent does bother a bit.
Everyone else including Pavail Gulati, Sahil Mehta, Elli Avram, Ashish Vidyarthi, Abhishekh Khan play their parts with conviction and belief. Sunil Grover in a cameo does impress. Think of him as Vikas Bahl explaining you what his film is exactly about without becoming very preachy. The idea works because he makes it very smooth and likeable. He says what are we but stories and that does work right.
Goodbye Movie Review: Direction, Music
Vikas Bahl understands his audience and caters what’s needed. I have a critical gaze, but a normal viewer will walk past the flaws to feel the story and come out crying.
There are obvious story loopholes that could have been rectified in the screen translation. Like Mudassar saying I will come to the funeral you go ahead to Tara and landing there the next morning makes no sense. Or Nakul’s storyline is so fast-paced and then he gets down from a train to charge in phone while we all know that particular train does have electric sockets.
Amit Trivedi after a long time brings an album that wins hearts. Of course, Jaikal Mahakal and Chann Pardesi are winners, there are a few more good ones and you must listen.
Goodbye Movie Review: The Last Word
Goodbye is a movie that does what it intends to regardless of the flaws that get overshadowed by emotions. It is also an art if you observe. If you can ignore them too, go for it and feel the pain of losing and the way to mend your heart.
Goodbye releases on 07 October, 2022.
Share with us your experience of watching Goodbye.
For more recommendations, read our Jogi Movie Review here.