Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Neena Kulkarni,Rashmika Mandanna, Sunil Grover, Pavail Gulati, Ashish Vidyarthi, Elli AvrRam, Sahil Mehta and Shivin Narang in supporting roles
Written & Directed by Vikas Bahl
Of late there have been other filma on a death in the family like Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi and Paglaitt. In spirit, Goodbye is closer to the former, though the only similarity between the two films is a sudden death in the family. In Ram Prasad… it was Supriya Pathak coping with the death of her husband and the drama of push and pull of interests that follows.
Amitabh Bachchan in Goodbye as Harish Bhalla, the patriarch of thea family is a bristling bundle of ire and sarcasm. His abnormal aggression at his loss targets all his children especially the daughter Gayatri(Rashmika Mandanna). The two are continuously at loggerheads about the rituals to be followed after the mother Neena Gupta’s death.
Ashish Vidyarthi as an officious meddlesome neighbour is bang-on. Many times as this lengthy film moves from tragedy to acceptance , you will find yourself connecting to the tamasha that ensues after a death in the family. Vikas Bahl is very good at juicing the contradictions and hypocrisy that underline the tragedy.
Harish Bhalla’s sudden loneliness is tangible in every step he takes. Though there is a line of explanation on it, Neena Gupta looks far too young to be Mr Bachchan’s wife. The transitions of temperament are not always smooth. The arrival of another Bhalla heir-apparent at the end played by Abhishekh Khan is more of an overload than an actual necessity in the script.
The Bhallas seem to believe in the more-the-merrier policy. The family has two biological children and three adopted ones, including a Sikh(Sahil Mehta) and a North Eastern househelp (Payal Thapa) who are in a secret relationship: isn’t that somewhat incestuous?
In its entirety, the blemishes in the script(and that includes a long unnecessary moaning monologue by Mr Bachchan about his dead wife’s half-empty bottle of shampoo lying in the bathroom, etc etc) are swept away by the genuinely moving episodes and some validating performances especially by Pavail Gulati, Elli AvrRam, Sunil Grover(as the coolest godman in Hardwar), Ashish Vidyarthi, Divya Seth, Shayank Shukla(as the snivelling cousin getting ritual instructions on the phone), Martin Jishil(as the guy who informs Mandanna of her mother’s death) and of course Mr Bachchan.
Neena Gupta plays the corpse with dead seriousness.