A father of four frantically tries to reach out to all his children while trying to wrap his head around the sudden death of his beloved wife. Directed and written by Vikas Bahl, the 2022 movie ‘Goodbye’ follows the Bhalla family in their journey through the labyrinth of funeral rituals and retrospection.
Led by Big-B, most of the cast is obviously overshadowed by the veteran actor’s powerful portrayal of Mr Bhalla, the grieving husband, but Rashmika Mandanna manages to steal the spotlight from him by being the most annoying character. Rashmika plays his daughter Tara Bhalla, but just doesn’t fit in the North-Indian family due to her discernible south-Indian accent. The way she delivers her Hindi dialogues is laborious and unlike someone who is used to speaking a particular language with their family. There’s a brief scene with a Malayali character in the first half of the film, and despite his strong accent, he speaks it better than her. It looks like she was cast simply due to her popularity, while a different actor would’ve been able to pull off the role with more ease. Anyway…
For the first half, ‘Goodbye’ focuses on just how selfish and self-centered younger generations can be. They are barely in touch with their parents, don’t talk to them for weeks altogether, don’t pick their calls or respond to their messages. But here’s the glaring plot problem – for working adults who are not used to calling their parents often, several missed calls is a big red flag, it usually means an emergency. You have to be extremely dumb or estranged with your folks to not call-back, if it’s the former, then you wouldn’t want to care about such protagonists, if it’s the latter, the story isn’t able to justify why their relationship is strained. Mr Bhalla doesn’t come across as an unreasonable man, the deceased Mrs Bhalla (Neena Gupta) is made out to be a gem of a person; So why are their adult children jerks who ignore their mother’s messages and calls?
The movie is basically about a bunch of siblings who aren’t on great terms with their parents (for no good reason) and need their mom to die to finally come home and see how their father doing. The narrative goes back and forth between the past and present, but most of the flashbacks seemed pretty pointless. A linear storytelling would’ve worked better. What ‘Goodbye’ does manage to capture well is the absurd outdated funeral rituals families have to deal with while trying to come to terms with a loved one’s demise. Also, it’s some of the subtler scenes and details that are more poignant, like an elderly man on his own death bed having to grapple with his daughter’s passing away.
The second-half is tediously tiring, with some bad humor and lots of unnecessary scenes. Abhishekh Khan has a small cameo as one of the Bhalla siblings who appears at the climactic stage of the story, but he manages to bring a lot of heart with his little part to the dying tale. ‘Goodbye’ has its moments, but quickly loses all charm due to confused execution.
It’s a 5/10 from me. Stream it on Netflix.
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