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Film Review: Bachchan And Lucknow Pull The Quaint Gulabo Sitabo

The film rests on indulgence and might be lucky to be not expected to fill up cinema halls.

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Excerpt: The thing with character-driven films is that they often expect the characters to fill up for the story itself. Sometimes it works, most often it does not. In Gulabo Sitabo, it works only in those parts where either Amitabh Bachchan or the Lucknawi essence holds us by the arms. Some years from now, those are the only two things that we might remember about this whimsical film. And therein lies its principal shortcoming.

Review: Director Shoojit Sarkar and story, screenplay, and dialogue writer Juhi Chaturvedi‘s Gulabo Sitabo is a story about ‘Mirza’ (Amitabh Bachchan), a 78-year-old epitome of greed, who is willing to move heaven and earth to get ownership of his obsession — an old dilapidated mansion (‘Fatima Mahal’) of his much-older wife ‘Begum’ (Farrukh Jaffar) in the heart of Lucknow.

In his path, however, stand not just his wife but also a group of tenants, especially ‘Baankey’ (Ayushmann Khuranna)’ a shrewd, sly and squatted tenant, who matches Mirza bit for a bit in their ceaseless bantering.


What follows is a wacky slice of life that escalates quickly from the shenanigans within the Fatima Mahal to the politico-administrative corridors of Lucknow city.

It is an interesting premise that also benefits from whispered handling of the milieu by the technical team comprising cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay, editor Chandrashekhar Prajapati and apt background score.

But that’s about that.


Because beyond that, it, at the risk of repeating oneself, is down to the characters — notably Vijay Raaz (ASI Officer), Brijendra Kala (‘Christian Lawyer’ who is better because “he speaks English at home”) and Srishti Shrivastava (Baankey’s sister ‘Guddo’) — to shoulder the journey towards nowhere in particular.

After a point, it indeed feels like you are on a journey towards nowhere in particular. Till a rather unexpected climax suddenly lifts up the storytelling to tell us that ‘greed’ is of many types — without feeling self-righteous enough to pass any judgements.

It is a good note to end on. Just as, the quirky and zippy establishment of the universe of the film was a good start to the story. Most things in between, alas, do not quite do justice to the two ends of the thread.

Ayushmann does an exemplary job with the ‘lisp’, where he manages what most actors fail to achieve simultaneously — impact with restraint.

However, beyond that, he doesn’t really exhibit much that is beyond (or above) his recent golden run of author-backed, socially-relevant roles.


In other words, while there is barely anyone, if anyone, in the industry who I believe could replace Bachchan’s impact in the role of Mirza, I could, perhaps, say that ‘a’ Rajkumar Rao or even Kartik Aryan might have done just about fine in the role of Baankey.

Director Shoojit Sarkar has said that the film is a satire. To live up to the description, he does include comments on the workings of government departments, the ‘place’ of the English language in our society and the living conditions of even those living in the ‘Fatima Mahals’ of the country.

But, though handled with understated care, there is not much new to those subjects — and those things, consequently, do nothing to the heart.

For the curious souls, the title Gulabo Sitabo is said to be derived from a form of traditional glove puppetry of Uttar Pradesh in which a man’s harried wife (Sitabo) and his pampered mistress (Gulabo) bicker endlessly. Clearly, the Amitabh-Ayushmann pair was supposed to be the bickering duo. They sure exchange words in the film. But their exchange is nowhere near the zing of the show that real-life puppeteer (Mohammed Naushad) performs at different points in the film.

Talking of Uttar Pradesh, it needs to be said that the film oozes with unabashed romanticism of Lucknow city — carrying postcards of all the ‘must visit’ places of the city, from Imambara, to Hazratganj.

Verdict: There is nothing in the film that is bad. And yet, watch it primarily for Bachchan to, yet again, illustrate the difference between “the boys and the men”. For everything else, either watch Ayushmann or Shoojit Sarcar’s some other movie or travel to Lucknow to do some real ‘Ganj-ing’.

Anshuman Rawat

Anshuman Rawat is a geopolitical and IR columnist-editorcommunications specialist and serial entrepreneur from India. His long-term ambition is to play a leading role in the “development and spread of social welfare-oriented media convergence in India”.

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Radical Islamist Outfit PFI’s Workers Arrested For Spoiling Hathras Atmosphere

They were arrested at Mathura while they were on their way to Hathras from Delhi.

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MATHURA (Uttar Pradesh): Four people, said to have links with radical Islamist group (with links to global terror group ISIS) Popular Front of India (PFI) and an associate outfit, were arrested at Mathura on Monday while they were on their way to Hathras from Delhi, police said. The four were taken into custody at Mathura’s Math toll plaza where the police were checking vehicles after receiving a tip-off that some suspicious people were on their way to Hathras from Delhi.

The four were in a car and identified themselves as Atiq-ur Rehman of Muzaffarnagar, Siddique of Malappuram, Masood Ahmed of Bahraich and Alam of Rampur, the police said, adding their mobile phones, laptop and some literature, which could have an impact on peace and order, were seized.

A total of 21 cases have been filed in this regard across the state.


Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said that on Monday, police had received information that some suspected persons were going from Delhi towards Hathras. On this, suspicious vehicles were checked near the toll plaza branch. When the four youths who were in the Swift Desire vehicle were intercepted and questioned, they came to know about their relationship with the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associate organization Campus Front of India (CFI).

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath referred to “recent incidents” and said “anarchist elements” are trying to trigger communal and caste violence in the state.

The PFI, accused in the past of having links with international terror group ISIS, has been accused of funding certain protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that took place across the country earlier this year. The Uttar Pradesh police had earlier sought a ban on the organization.


Separate cases have been filed against the workers of political parties in the Chandpa police station on Sunday and Monday also on charges like a violation of official business and violation of prohibitory orders.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar on Monday informed about the cases filed in the Chandpa police station. He told that efforts are being made to spoil the atmosphere with posters, social media posts.

An attempt has been made to spoil the atmosphere of UP under a conspiracy. We are taking action on the basis of matters. Many agencies are investigating this matter. An FIR has been registered against such people.”

The cases are filed under Section 109 (abetment of offence) of the Indian Penal Code, 124A (attempt to threaten the unity and integrity of the country-sedition) 120 B (conspiracy), 153 -A (spreading maliciousness on the basis of religion, language and caste), 153-B (statements adversely affecting national integrity), 195 (fabricating evidence), 465 (counterfeiting), 468 (use of misleading documents), 501 ( A total of 20 sections, including defamatory printing), 505 (statement making the atmosphere of fear) and Section 67 of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008.

The Deputy Inspector has written in his report that in order to take advantage of some unfortunate elements of Hathras unfortunate incident under a criminal conspiracy to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the entire state and incite caste hatred, the hatred and contempt for the government established by law in the State Are provoking the victim’s family.


The report further states that the accused are pressuring the family to misrepresentation and luring them to lie by giving them a lure of Rs 50 lakh. The peace of Hathras and the state has been affected by attempting to change the statements given earlier.

Report Filed Against Unidentified Journalist:

A report has also been filed against an unknown journalist stating in order to fulfil his/her purpose, the journalist tried to call the victim’s brother to ask his parents to tell the media that they were not satisfied with the administration’s action is. Apart from this, s/he also tried to say that the deceased had told him/her about the gangrape.

Whereas in the first statement given by the victim family, the victim and her family had only spoken about the assault. The police sub-inspector has also written that the rape has not been confirmed in the Forensic Science Experiment School and the Medical Report.

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AGENTS OF CHANGE

Strategically Important Atal Tunnel In Rohtang Open Now

It is the world’s longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres.

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MANALI (Himachal Pradesh): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the strategically important all-weather Atal Tunnel at Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh. PM Modi was accompanied by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur, Chief of Defence Staff, CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane.

Earlier CDS General Rawat and Army Chief General Naravane received the Prime Minister at the South Portal of Atal Tunnel of Rohtang. Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur received the PM at Sase Helipad at Manali.

Atal Tunnel, the longest highway tunnel in the world was built by the Border Roads Organisation. The tunnel reduces the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and the travel time by four to five hours. The 9.02-km tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year, the valley was earlier cut off for about six months every year due to heavy snowfall.


The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had taken the decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass on June 3, 2000, and the foundation stone for the access road to the south portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.

In December 2019, the Government decided to name the Rohtang Tunnel as Atal Tunnel in honour of the former Prime Minister and scholar Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had passed away the previous year.

A network protocol includes the pre-defined rules and conventions for communication between network and devices connected. These include identifying and establishing connections among devices. Besides, there are formatting rules specifying packaging, sending, and receiving messages. Additionally, there are protocols for message acknowledgement and data compression too. It also enables the establishment of reliable and high-performing network communication.


In the absence of protocols, devices would not be able to understand the electronic signals that they send while communicating over network connections. Nowadays, protocols use packet switching techniques to send and receive messages in the form of packets. These messages are again divided, collected, and reassembled at their destination. Numerous computer network protocols serve defined purpose and environment.

Highlights:

  1. The Atal Tunnel is constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 3500-4000 crores.
  2. It reduces the distance between Leh and Manali by 46 km, the tunnel will bring down the driving time by around 4 hours.
  3. The BRO built this tunnel in the shape of a horseshoe.
  4. It is the world’s longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres.
  5. It is a 10.5-metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel with a fireproof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.
  6. With the help of this tunnel, connectivity to the remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh will easily be possible, regardless of the weather conditions.
  7. The opening of the Atal Tunnel will bring a boost in tourism activities in the Lahaul-Spiti region and will also simultaneously create more employment opportunities for locals in the area.
  8. The tunnel also provides a telephone facility on every 150 meters, a fire hydrant on every 60 meters, an emergency exit on every 500 meters, a turning cavern on every 2.2 km, an air quality monitoring on every 1 km, a broadcasting system, and an automatic incident detection system with CCTV cameras on every 250 meters.
  9. The construction of this tunnel consumed 14,508 metric tonnes of steel, 2,37,596 metric tonnes of cement, and 14 lakh cubic meters of soil and rocks.
  10. This tunnel is unique in its own way as it is India’s first tunnel to have an escape tunnel within the main tunnel due to the topography. It is also the first tunnel to deploy the Rowa flyer technology, which allows engineers to work at inverted levels.
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Babri Structure Demolition Case: All 32 Accused Acquitted

The court said, there was no conclusive proof against the accused.

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LUCKNOW (Uttar Pradesh): A Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) Special Court in Lucknow has acquitted all the 32 accused in the Babri Structure Demolition case. The case relates to the razing of the disputed structure in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

The court said, there was no conclusive proof against the accused.

The 32 accused persons include former Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani, former Union Minister M. M. Joshi, former Union Minister Uma Bharti and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh.

Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti emerged from the court flashing a victory sign. “It’s good. Justice has been done. The court agreed that we did no wrong,” said the former Bharatiya Janata Party MP who had on previous occasions, said he was ready to go to jail.



Highlights of the 2,000-page verdict:

(1) The demolition was not pre-planned and the accused had actually tried to stop the mob
(2) Those who climbed on the dome were anti-social elements
(3) The authenticity of the audio and video clips produced by the CBI is not proved
(4) Local intelligence report forewarning that some unexpected sequence of events could take place on December 6 went unheeded
(5) There was no criminal conspiracy behind the demolition


LK Advani, 92, MM Joshi, 87, and Uma Bharti, 61, were not present in court and watched via video link when the verdict was announced. They had all been accused of criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity and inciting activists with incendiary speeches from a dais next to the site.

The trial, which lasted for 28 years, was conducted under Sections 147/153-A/153-B/295/295-A/505 IPC read with Sections 149 and 120B IPC.


The CBI, which went into the case, produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence before the court. The court had initially framed charges against 49 accused; 17 accused have died during the course of time.

Special CBI judge Surendra Kumar Yadav did not admit the videos produced by the Central Bureau of Investigation, holding that the recording had been tampered with, defence lawyer Manish Tripathi said. The judge also did not admit the photographs submitted by the CBI since it could not produce the original negatives. The judge also agreed with the defence that the CBI did not follow provisions of the Evidence Act.

Kalyan Singh was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh at the time of the demolition. His government was dismissed as riots broke out across the country, leaving around 3,000 people dead. Former Union minister Uma Bharti, who is admitted in a hospital in Uttarakhand after contracting COVID-19, had declared that she would not seek bail if she was convicted.

Over the last 28 years, the case has seen many turns. Two cases were filed in 1992, which eventually grew to 49. The second case, FIR no 198, had named Mr Advani, Mr Joshi and Uma Bharti for promoting religious enmity and provoking rioting. Later, the Supreme Court asked that criminal conspiracy charges be restored against them.
In 1993, the CBI or Central Bureau of Investigation filed a single, consolidated charge sheet against 48 people including Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.

The UP police have issued a high alert across the state in view of the verdict, in the Babri mosque demolition case, to be delivered by the special CBI court (Ayodhya case) in Lucknow on Wednesday, said senior police officials.


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