The acceptance of concept driven, small budget films by a larger audience in the recent past has led to many small time films seeing the light of the day. One among such film is Gangoobai. The film has done the rounds of many film festivals within India garnering good response from people but one really has to see whether the film works well with the wider audience or not.
Nestled in the quaint hill station Matheran is Gangoobai (Sarita Joshi) a childless, elderly widow who has lived her whole life in the tiny colonial hill station. Other than tending to her flowers and doing some chores that earn her the daily living, Gangoobai doesn't have much to look forth to in her days. Except for one day when she stumbles upon a magnificent Parsi Sari of white Chinese motifs embroidered on a background of purple silk.
Gangoobai finds it difficult to get the sari, which belongs to her employer Hodiwala, out of her mind and after much mulling over makes up her mind to own one herself. The only problem is that of the sari being worth 50 thousand rupees. However, Gangoobai finds a new motive in life by taking it upon herself to earn the amount and buy her. After 4 years she manages to collect the sum and takes off to the bustling city of Mumbai - an urban nightmare she is utterly unprepared for.
The kind of people Gangoobai comes across in the maximum city and how she manages to change their lives by her simpleton attitude is what follows through the rest of the plot.
The film has been awaiting release since 2011 and after doing the rounds of many festivals it finally sees the light of the day. The NFDC production, Gangoobai has its heart in the right place. It brings out the sweet simplicity that instantly tucks into your heart. However, it doesn't manage to hold the interest for long.
Filmmaker Priya Krishnaswamy takes a one line plot, stretches it to great extents and hence loses it's connect with the audience. The film grows on you right from the very start for its simplicity but as the story starts to unfold it easily sinks into a predictable pattern and continues to remain so right till the end.
For a film with a basic plot such as this one, the length also should've been in check however, Priya Krishnaswamy splurges on the run time making the film long and boring. Also certain emotions, for example - the change of hearts of the urbane people towards Gangoobai, the stark contrast in the attitude between people from hill station vis-Ã -vis people from the maximum city isn't quite handled too well.
The mainstay of the film turns out to be Sarita Joshi. She single-handedly shoulders the movie and also gives some delightful moments. She isn't a new name to the troupe of great actors, the theater actress is renowned for her performances in plays, Gujarati shows as well as Hindi TV shows. But as the lead of a film too Sarita does a splendid job.
As for the rest of the cast, Purab Kohli is at his usual best and plays his part well. The problem comes in the case of the leading lady Nidhi Sunil. Not only does she appear cakey and oily in their appearance courtesy all the wrong make up, Nidhi also falls short in delivering a good performance.
To sum it up, the concept of Gangoobai is more appealing than the film itself. The movie may work in the festival sections but as for the aam junta, it may turn out to be a boring affair.