Tumhari Sulu is a feel-good Bollywood movie directed by Suresh Triveni starring Vidya Balan as Sulu whose world revolves around her family. The movie portrays the life of a happy homemaker, Sulochana aka Sulu, pursuing a quest to start a business of her own, now that her son is old enough to take care of himself. Sulochana’s life takes a turn when she becomes a radio jockey for a late-night show named after her – titled ‘Tumhari Sulu’.
Her job expectations include talking to her callers and responding to their requests and issues. Even though Sulu puts forth a sexy voice as expected, she responds to risqué requests in her own smart way while respecting her boundaries. She not only shines at her job but her show hikes up ratings for the radio company.
However, Sulu’s new job doesn’t settle well in her household. Her twin sisters and father chide her for taking up what they perceive to be an ‘indecent’ job and want her to quit. Her husband, Ashok, who always had her back in similar situations previously, sides with the rest. The determined Sulu keeps her head up and perseveres to do well at her job, till a major plot twist towards the end.
Noteworthy parts of the screenwriting involve the love depicted between Sulu and her husband. How they lead a content life in a one-bedroom apartment in Mumbai – exchanging funny banters and supporting each other physically and mentally. When Sulu says “I had a busy day, can you press my feet”, he jumps right in on this request, striking off the age-old tradition that treats male counterparts as the “god” of the household. This scene illustrated love and respect for each other.
Against gender stereotyping, the movie shows how the husband is onboard with Sulu’s ideas about wanting to start a taxi business while Sulu’s sisters try to shun her ideas. Talking about her sisters, the movie also throws light on how it’s crucial to realise that no one understands you better than YOU. Sulu’s sisters constantly meddle in her life – only to tell her she isn’t enough.
No one should have the power to make us feel guilty for having dreams.
But the headstrong Sulu knows what she wants and goes for it. Your loved ones don’t get you all the time, which is perfectly fine, but you need to inculcate your inner voice to guide you. Especially if it gets abusive and toxic, we need to tell ourselves that just because someone is family it doesn’t mean we have to keep them in our lives. No one should have the power to make us feel guilty for having dreams.
On the other hand, the support lent by Sulu’s colleagues is a vital piece for discussion. Though they don’t take her seriously in the beginning, once Sulu proves her talent – her colleagues, especially her boss come around and take her under their wing, train her for the job, celebrate her victories, and help her through tough times.
Sulu is assured with a safe commute to and from work aided by a female cab driver. This not only highlights the importance of safety companies must ensure their nightshift employees, but also provides an awareness about the rights of female employees to have the freedom to work as per their liking, irrespective of the type of job and timings. Sulu’s son is welcomed by her colleagues and has a great time with them – delineating the significance of work-life balance that a workplace should promise their employees with.
A woman is expected to take care of her house, serve the needs of her family, put the rest of her household before her.
As shown in the movie, it is a must to emphasize the effect of work pressure on our loved ones. Ashok is faced with work-based chaos around the same time Sulu lands her job. His doubts on her working at midnight coupled with this work turmoil puts a dent in their relationship. He questions if Sulu has been drinking, doesn’t appreciate the gifts she gets him with her first salary and assumes it’s the wife’s ‘irresponsibility’ that caused the son to have problems.
This whole scenario is not something uncommon in most households. A woman is expected to take care of her house, serve the needs of her family, put the rest of her household before her. In a nutshell – she is expected to “behave”. God forbid if something untoward happens, it is SHE who is held responsible. The movie handled this taboo very well, creating an eye-opener for Ashok in the form a letter written by his son.
One thing that bothered was the resignation talk Sulu had with her boss – stating that she failed her son. It is a well-known fact that a child’s upbringing is dependent on both parents and not just the mother. The movie could have showcased this in a different way. Climax gets a tad confusing where it is left to viewer’s perception as to why Sulu resigns from her job, wants to cater food to the radio company, but finally is back to resume her job as a radio jockey, while her husband takes care of the catering business. We can all agree they worked things out for a happy ending, but the ending could have been more clear and aspirational.
Featured image used for representational purpose only. Source: Maps of India