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Sterling performances in a feel-good film Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Neena Gupta, Rashmika Mandanna, Pavail Gulati, Ashish Vidyarthi, Shi...

Sterling performances in a feel-good film

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Neena Gupta, Rashmika Mandanna, Pavail Gulati, Ashish Vidyarthi, Shiving Narang, Sunil Grover, Sahil Mehta, Elli AvrRam and Arun Bali

Rating: 3.5*

There’s a reason why Amitabh Bachchan was called the “one-man industry”. He still is, given the adulation and respect he still commands the world over. And Goodbye is one more reason to believe that Big B can still run the show on his able shoulders even at the grand old age of 80.

In Goodbye, however, we see a different Amitabh. Not the angry young man who would just strut in for the screen to explode. Not the Amitabh who would woo the audience with his perfect comic timing. Not the Amitabh who would serenade his heroines as the quintessential romantic hero. We see a seasoned and mellow Amitabh, sure of what he can do alone, yet gracefully giving all the other actors in the frame enough space to grow and glow.

Each and every actor in Goodbye, be it the young or the old, the seasoned or the debutant, has a well-etched part which gives them the scope to showcase their acting prowess without stepping on each other’s toes or trying to shoulder anyone out of the frame.

Director Vikas Bahl serves up a film that is simple yet complex, tragic yet comic in its treatment of death and how people react to this immense loss in their lives. Goodbye gets off to a thumping start with Tara (Rashmika) shaking a leg to the Hick hick number. Barely it is over that she gets news of her mother Gayatri Bhalla’s (Neena Gupta) sudden death. Her furious father, Harish (Amitabh) had been calling the whole night but she had been too busy celebrating the success of her first case.

Even as Tara rushes back, workaholic son Karan (Pavail and his American wife Daisy (Elli) fly down from the USA more out of a sense of duty than any feelings while Angad (Sahil) still can’t miss gorging on his butter chicken in Dubai despite the tragedy. The last son Nakul (Abhishek Khan) is the last to know, making a late entry. As the last rites and rituals for the final goodbye proceed, the family and their dog Stupid, gradually come to terms with their loss and the sense of emptiness that will always remain.

Rashmika Mandanna makes a confident debut in Hindi films, never mind her accented Hindi. Neena Gupta makes her presence felt even in her absence as she pops up as each family member goes into flashback mode to recollect her vivacity and joie de vivre. Amitabh steals the show with his sterling performance, the highlight being his 10-minute monologue with Gayatri’s asthi kalash on the banks of the Ganga just before immersing her ashes. After the immersion, Harish looks back at the Ganga and as a parting shot howls “I knew you would smoke” struggling to keep his tears in check.

Ashish Vidyarthi as the all-knowing friend PP leaves a mark as does Sunil Grover as the hi-tech priest who assists the family to complete Gayatri’s final journey. Divya Seth along with her toli of friends who turn up to mourn the loss of Gayatri provides the comic element, though at times the laughs appear forced and in bad taste.

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