Movie Review: Goodbye

Goodbye a Mocking Drama of Indian Death Rituals

You go to a theatre to feel good and get entertained, but Goodbye takes you to another tangent. The film brings you to a cremation ceremony, as its central theme, taking you through the pain of a sudden loss of a loved one without saying goodbye…writes Dr.Priyaankaa Mathur.

Goodbye is the saga of bidding farewell towards one’s final journey, taking you down the memory lane with instances and memories you had spent with the deceased, that you can certainly relate to.The film stars Neena Gupta as (Gayatri) the deceased wife of Harish (Amitabh Bacchan), who’s a grief-stricken old man who loses his wife and reminisces about all the good old romantic years they had spent as a couple. He has been a strict father to three children, all settled away from home. His daughter Tara (Rashmika Mandanna) is an aspiring lawyer and a party animal, who lives on her own with her boyfriend. She wins her first case on the eve of her mother’s death, while she was busy partying.

Tara eventually falls apart to know of the tragic news waking up the next morning and repents of not being able to say a final goodbye to her mother having missed her calls and messages. She returns home heartbroken and guilt-ridden to find her father following his neighbor’s advice to do follow some absurd rituals, while he was unwilling to understand her outrage.

This satire of death displays a mocking approach as to how the gen next finds traditional Indian death rituals as an obligation, while they apply science and logic behind every ceremony, representing an absolute clash of ideologies between the young and the old. 

During her mother’s funeral Tara questions every conventional ritual, until she meets a local pandit ( Sunil Grover), on the ghats of Benaras. He opens her eyes connecting her to mythology and how these stories and rituals helps the soul’s journey after death, while they also connect us to feel better and accept death as a reality of life.

So is her elder brother Karan (Pavel Gulati), a successful corporate hotshot married to a foreigner (Elli AvrRam), who tries hard to understand Indian rituals more than her husband and his siblings. She ends up wearing a black dress and becomes a point of laughter at the funeral since she is misinformed by her insensitive husband Karan, who even discusses a corporate presentation while he shoulders his mother’s body. The script seems very loose and nowhere close to justifying the gravity of the situation and the sensitivity of the Indian rituals, while some community women are shown clicking selfies, while they create WhatsApp groups to commemorate Gayatri’s death.

Although, Vikas Bahl’s Satire on death perfectly manages to portray a dysfunctional family who gets together on the death of their mother, who jelled them together. The film brings in many nostalgic yet happy moments, and a Tsunami of emotions making you cry while you go through the journey of a grieving family.

The story at one point brings an abrupt happy turn to the gloom, as the clock strikes twelve a bunch of youngsters arrives dancing, wishing Harish his 70th birthday in between the nostalgia, where the pain-stuck family doesn’t even know how to react. There arrives his eldest son Neil (Abhishekh Khan) who planned the party with Gayatri while he was away on a mountaineering trip for a couple of months, who now is shattered to know about his mother’s untimely death. There are moments when Karan calls for his mother and forgets that she’s gone. While, Tara opens her mother’s wardrobe to search for her old belongings, and finds a kite which leads her to Harish who told her the secret tale of their romance.

Bachchan’s performance turns Harish’s character into fresh blood, as he moans and struggles to talk to Gayatri with his quivering lips and cracked voice, still coming to terms with her death before immersing her ashes in Ganga. In the end, he tries to establish death as a ‘right turn’, while you don’t see the deceased but the soul continues its journey. He tries to cope with his loss and gets back to life. Eventually, his children understand the gravity of rituals like sacrifices to be made for the deceased, which takes them beyond the vices of ambition and ego, blessing them for life!

FF- ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️