You can watch Goodbye as a slice-of-life movie and you will likely find a lot of the moments relevant and that it will make you both laugh and cry at the same time.
A touching account of the Bhalla family's journey through grief and self-discovery following the death of a loved one. You'll experience a range of emotions while watching the movie, from laughter to tears at various points.
Vikas Bahl kickstarts Goodbye with a "Complete Idiot's Guide" on how not to behave at a funeral. In the era of rising technology, we have often observed that physical distance between two individuals is not something new. But we do seek social media validation when sharing the news, whether it's good or bad. On hearing of Neena Gupta's character's death, the whole Mohalla Aunties come together to fake cry for their friend's demise, which is fine. Not everyone has the emotions handy to react to the news of a death. But they also want to post on WhatsApp expressing the loss they experienced.
Bahl takes the route of how insensitive people around him can be, which seems too far from the truth. But it's not an entire lie either. How to carry forward the rituals is also not something every family would know. Similarly, in stressful situations, we rely on people who demonstrate that they know everything. Without knowing if it is right or wrong, we often see families just follow those people with blinders on.
Goodbye has all the insensitive approaches to a death scene right in place, which is humorous, but you are unsure whether to laugh or cry going by the situation. This is one aspect that Bahl explored from the outside world.
Within the family, the stressful times bring out the best and worst in each other. In the film, we see that Amitabh Bachchan and Rashmika Mandanna, as father and daughter, don't get along well. Being a rebellious child and the only girl child in the family, she finds her way out to become a lawyer. Away from home, we see that their relationship has further spoiled and they question each other's approach towards life. Millennials can resonate with this, where we question "logic" over rituals and most of the time it's emotions talking.
There's Pavail Gulati, a business executive who is married to a British woman (Elli AvrRam). They arrive at the funeral, but ahead of that, she can't stop reminding her husband that his work is secondary, at least for a few days, as he is eyeing up a return ticket already. In most of the funeral scenes, we see Gulati's airpods on, and that's quite uncomfortable to watch too. This, yes, doesn't go well with me, as he does it even when he carries his mother on his shoulder.
Observing all of this, Bachchan, as a loner now, can't deal with how his kids are dealing with death. He wants them to react his way to the situations, not by choosing practicality. But the rebellious mode keeps coming into the picture, which stops midway, making it a confusing approach.
In the first half, along with a lot of hues and cries, Goodbye does leave with a lot of chattering about relatability and how sensitivity towards death, even of close ones, is vanishing. We remember the past moments, but the present scenario makes us live with a tough exterior and a rush to move on and get on with our work.
The second half of Goodbye is the moving-on process with several lighter moments, but the emotional appeal remains the same. Sunil Grover, a person who performs rituals, comes into the picture. He tries to bring logic to the practices to make the family understand. But everyone still has their own way.
Bahl has shown it beautifully that even though they all have gone separate ways for work and further life, they have each other's backs despite their differences. The whole film oscillates between these moments, blending with mixed emotions. Goodbye will leave you confused when it comes to emotions because Bahl chooses both a humorous and a tearful approach simultaneously, so you find it hard to judge the movie properly.
It took me two days to sit and reflect on what I had seen, keeping the emotions aside. But if it makes you cry a lot, it doesn't mean the film is a winner wholly. However, it's an important emotion that most of the films don't express either. And working on a project that deals with death comes with its own challenges. However, in the last two years, we saw two films, namely Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi and Pagglait, showing a similar approach to how families behave during funerals.
Coming to performances, seeing Amitabh Bachchan on the big screen is a visual treat even now. The Megastar shows how to make a character interesting even when they are filled with rage and sadness. There's one monologue where he talks to his dead wife's ashes about how apologetic he is for not giving her time and investing it in rituals after she left him. It's one heartbreaking scene that only an actor like Big B can ace.
Rashmika Mandanna, who has made her Hindi movie debut with Goodbye, is a delight to watch too. The actor brings that youthful and free-spirited attitude quite well. Given her movie choices down South, this film is quite a surprise, but it's interesting to see how she took a plunge for Goodbye to be her Bollywood debut.
We wish there were more scenes between Bachchan and Neena Gupta, as she is too good in the film. The actor is remembered in flashback sequences, and the makers shoot the current scenes in such a way that her presence is felt too. The actor brings more light moments in the film and is the cool parent in this scenario.
Another actor to watch out for is Pavail Gulati. The actor has shown his mettle with Thappad and Dobaaraa. Here, although his character is far more confused than the rest of them, the actor keeps his pace and performs it decently.
For that matter, even Abhishekh Khan and Elli AvrRam are good in the parts given to them.
Vikas Bahl's most relatable movie till now is Queen, and nothing can surpass that. The filmmaker, however, brings the human interest stories with a humourous touch that makes you empathise with the characters but might laugh at them too. Goodbye is not his best, but better than his last outing, Super 30, so to say.
Another major highlight of Goodbye is the heartwarming music by Amit Trivedi. Jaikal Mahakal, Maaye, and Beautiful songs are soothing to the ears. The Hic Song appears at the start and is also a good foot-tapping number.
Goodbye can be watched as a slice-of-life film. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time, and you might find a lot of moments relatable too.
Goodbye has flaws, which you might reflect on long after watching the film, as I did. But it's an entertainer in its way, with a lot of chaos, showing the insensitivity of death but high on emotions.