We have always been told that life is very unpredictable yet it takes us so long to accept and process the loss of our loved ones. Death is a kind of tragedy quite difficult to explain until and unless you’re the one who has dealt with it personally. And maybe because of the society we’re a part of, death here is still a very uncomfortable topic about which we often avoid talking about. But contrary to it ‘Goodbye’ attempts at bringing it into mainstream cinema with a message of celebrating life even after death.
The story is set in Chandigarh where Harish Bhalla (played by Amitabh Bachchan) and his wife Gayatri (played by Neena Gupta) live with their four children. After completing their studies, their children have now settled in different parts of the country and world. Their daughter Tara (played by Rashmika Mandana) is a lawyer in Mumbai, the other two sons Karan (played by Pavail Gulati) and Angad (played by Sahil Mehta) work in a multinational company in USA and Dubai respectively and the youngest son Nakul (played by Abhishekh Khan) is a mountaineer. On one random day Gayatri dies of a sudden heart-attack and all the children reach Chandigarh to say their last goodbye to their mother and from here the story begins.
Director Vikas Bahl who has also written the story of the film has tried to touch multiple topics at once, like – the growing distance between children and parents in today’s time, the differences between traditional customs and science and how the sudden departure of a person affects the lives of people close to them.
We laugh, cry and make memories with people, aware and sometimes unaware of the fact that someone may become a memory in the next moment. And the worst is that life sometimes does not even give us a chance to say that last goodbye to our loved ones and all you’re left with is that feeling of regret. The film makes you think about all those moments when you took your parents, friends or family for granted and leaves you with an urge to call and tell them how much they matter to you.
The film constantly tries to maintain a balance between emotions and humour. Take for example, the scene where women from the neighborhood are discussing the new name for their WhatsApp group at the cremation ground after Gayatri’s demise. But it’s important to note that the presentation of loss and grief on the screen can strike a chord only when the heartfelt sentiments are expressed with empathy rather than forced humour.
The casting of the film is top notch and everyone has done an impressive job in their respective roles. Amitabh Bachchan yet again dominates and totally justifies the role. Whether it is his anger or helplessness as a father, every emotion comes out on the screen beautifully. If Neena Gupta’s character Gayatri was the heart of Bhalla family, no doubt her performance is the heart of the film.
Rashmika who makes her bollywood debut with ‘Goodbye’ has essayed her character thoroughly well and brings a fresh energy on the celluloid. Her ‘Tara’ who constantly keeps questioning the customs and rituals, asking for logic and reasoning behind them, is a kind of character with which the current generation would definitely relate to. Pavel Gulati, Elli AvrRam, Ashish Vidyarthi and Sunil Grover are the other actors to watch out for their heart pleasing performances.
Amit Trivedi’s music is one of the strongest pillars of the film. The cinematography of Ravindra Singh Bhadodia and Sudhakar Reddy is decent enough. The duo bring about the beauty of Rishikesh and Chandigarh on the screen perfectly whereas a lot could have been done in the editing department for the good. Overall, the first half of the film is pretty predictable and the second half is highly entertaining.
The film is an emotional family drama with a decent touch of humour but you fail to connect with it. Sometimes it makes you laugh, sometimes you feel tears rolling down your cheeks but overall it fails to leave a mark. With films like ‘Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’ and ‘Pagglait’ already been made on a similar topic in a much better way, you might need to think twice if you want to commit your time to the film.
‘Goodbye’ is now showing at a theatre near you.