Goodbye opens with Tara Bhalla (Rashmika Mandanna) celebrating her first victory as a lawyer in Mumbai. She ignores the calls and messages her mom and dad send her. Her father Harish Bhalla (Amitabh Bachchan) was calling to interrupt the news that her mother Gayatri Bhalla (Neena Gupta) had died suddenly of a heart attack. Tara immediately flies to Chandigarh to be with her father. The duo have never met face to face as she is too impartial and he is too picturesque. She hates rituals of any kind and complains that her father blindly follows the recommendation of a good friend of the house, PP (Ashish Vidyarthi), in terms of final rites. Ella’s older brother Karan (Pavail Gulati) flies in from the US along with his American wife Daisy (Elli AvrRam). Karan is a workaholic who has hearing aids even as he appears as a pallbearer. Another brother, Angad (Sahil Mehta), who is her mother’s favourite, flies in from Dubai. He is a bit of a foodie and his father overhears him ordering garlic butter chicken bread while on the phone and his guilt leads him to order khichdi instead.
He has another brother named Nakul (Abhishekh Khan), who is on vacation climbing in the Himalayas and only learns of their mother’s passing very late in the film. The dysfunctional home connects with each other throughout the 13-day mourning rituals. They realize the importance of being there for each other, regardless of their variances. Tara doesn’t think about the rituals, but a chance encounter with a pundit (Sunil Grover) causes her to see them in a new way. He explains that the rituals have a story behind them and in a way they remind us that we leave nothing but stories behind when we leave. She will get closer to her father as they share the memories of Gayatri. She has always been the bond that united the family and her death strengthens it even more.
The film can best be described as a tearjerker movie with bits of black comedy. Sometimes, as they gather to offer their condolences at Bhalla’s bungalow, the neighborhood aunts keep looking at the chairs because they don’t want to sit in the garden. . They are busy clicking selfies and decide to write a Whatsapp group in memory of their deceased friend. Gone Gayatri Gone, Lonely Harish ji, Harish ji loves us – are some of the names given to him and finally he chooses Chandigarh Bubblies. When Harish objects to Karan having sex on the night of the funeral, he replies that he was only fulfilling his responsibility as his son, since his mother’s last wish was to be a grandmother. Daisy casually picks an apple to eat while the havan is on, and so on.
Juxtaposed against them are moments created to convince him to wear his scarf. Harish’s encounter with his wife’s father, his monologue on the ghat, and even the simple reminiscence of the family eating gol gappe all have an emotional impact. Interactions between family members are carefully woven into the narrative and infused with warmth and humor. Kudos to the actors for making it feel real and relatable and for keeping the melodrama to a minimum.
Given the chemistry and camaraderie that Amitabh Bachchan and Neena Gupta have shared in the film, it’s a mystery why no one thought of pairing them up sooner. They give off vibes of a fortunately married couple who over the years have accepted each other, warts and all. Their scenes together are the best thing about the movie. They deserve another movie together, where their roles are better. Neena Gupta leaves the movie too quickly and we definitely would have liked to see more of her. Amitabh Bachchan plays a grumpy patriarch with a heart of gold once again in a movie and yet manages to bring a novelty to his performance. He has always made his appearance look simple and his professionalism seems to have rubbed off on his co-stars as well, as they all seem to be on the best of him hanging out with him.
National sweetheart Rashmika Mandana made her Bollywood debut with this film and she fits her role as a rebellious daughter perfectly. The scenes of her with Bachchan and with Pavail Gulati, her closest sister, are as pure as they get. She manages to make an impression even in this unglamorous debut. Pavail Gulati shines as the eldest son who learns he has additional obligations to take on, and Sunil Grover also makes his mark in his brief but pivotal role. Elli AvrRam, who has earned a reputation as a dancer, has shown here that she can act too.
Last year, we saw movies like Pagglait and Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi dealing with families trying to deal with missing a loved one, and Goodbye is another addition to the same custom. While it doesn’t say anything surprisingly unique, the film manages to be a feel-good comedy-drama about coping with disappearance and loss. Look out for the impressed appearance of the full cast and don’t forget to wear your scarf along…
Renuka Vyavahare, Oct 6, 2022, 7:37pm IST
Synopsis: Engrossed in celebrating her first career milestone with friends, Tara Bhalla (Rashmika Mandanna) misses phone calls from her father Harish (Amitabh Bachchan). Her world falls apart when she wakes up to discover that these calls were made to inform her of the untimely death of her mother Gayatri (Neena Gupta). What happens next, she writes the story.
Funeral drama, tragicomedy, satire about death, battle between old and new values and closure… Vikas Bahl’s film tries to juggle genres and times. His story of dealing with grief with a comic book twist has a poignant premise, something he shares with movies like Paglet and Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi. Unlike the two opposites, the characters listed below are one-dimensional and shallow.
Goodbye is not an easy watch if you have lost a parent or are dealing with a sick one. The idea of dropping a parent itself is hard to wrap your head around, but the execution struggles to determine a tone. The film flips between moods and past and present with a host of characters included and stringing them all together feels episodic and jumbled. The story swings between some poignant moments and then something completely irrelevant. The battle between the family members is more Baghban than Piku, though he tries to lean in the latter’s direction. The story also feels stagnant to a certain extent.
What works for the film, regardless of the occasional distractions, is its silent commentary on people and society at large when tragedy strikes. History speaks volumes when silence is allowed to enter into chaos. The strategy of the family that advances to talk to each other from the simple fact of talking is impressive. Big credit score goes to actor Sunil Grover, who becomes the face of that change in history. The actor breathes life into the performances and will bring an intelligent and compassionate character to the painting.
While you wish there was more of Neena Gupta in the movie, she makes the most of her lovable half. This territory is not new to Amitabh Bachchan, but in his eightieth year, he once again reaffirms the fact that a good actor can improve a script. Despite his great aura and stardom, he never forgets that this is primarily an ensemble film, providing plenty of room for others to flourish. His interpretation of pain and loneliness is heartbreaking. Rashmika Mandanna in her Hindi debut film has problems with her accent because she sounds too southern for a Punjabi role, but she can capture the essence of her character correctly. Pavail Gulati, Ashish Vidyarthi and Elli AvrRam also have moments of her own.
Goodbye is the story of a family dealing with grief and laughing through their pain. Keep tissues handy before you see this one.