Sorry Bhaisaab and the Middle Class’ faith in Divine Intervention

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Sorry Bhaisaab and the Middle Class’ faith in Divine Intervention

Illustration: Arati Gujar

In under 20 minutes, Sorry Bhaisaab makes you roll with laughter, get teary-eyed, and feel a heady dose of nostalgia as this short film offers a slice of 80s Doordarshan charm. Considering the clutter of content on OTT platforms, the benchmark for quality products has undoubtedly been raised despite the flurry of shows and movies. So, it isn’t easy in the world of today to stand out—least of all for a short film—but Sorry Bhaisaab on Amazon Mini TV, is the unassuming treasure that is both refreshingly original and endearingly real.

Set in a middle-class milieu, the story follows the Gupta family of three, who in their own ways are struggling to strike a balance between their realities and their aspirations. Their small apartment in a street packed with cars and nosy neighbours is the setting for most of the film. It opens with a hilarious interaction between Guptaji and the kirana shopkeeper about food choices and fitness. “Fitness ka khel Test match ke tarah hota hai. Isme tikna padta hai.” 

In under 20 minutes, Sorry Bhaisaab makes you roll with laughter, get teary-eyed, and feel a heady dose of nostalgia as this short film offers a slice of 80s Doordarshan charm.

Guptaji returns home to find his parking spot vacant, and grumbles about his wife’s driving skills until he learns she hasn’t left the house all morning. Then who has the car? The search for the car forms much of the storyline, giving us realistic access to how we think in stressful situations, how some look at adversities as opportunities in disguise, and how the neighbours troop in more out of curiosity than a genuine wish to help.

Actors Sharib Hashmi and Gauahar Khan essay the Gupta couple with such convincing flair that we feel transported back to the era of the simple Wagle ki Duniya. There is truly a Saeed-Mirza-meets-Kundan-Shah vibe that reverberates through the film as writer-directors Suman Adhikary and Sumit Ghildayal deftly cast the spotlight on middle class struggles and idiosyncrasies.  Like the judgemental shopkeeper who has some of the best lines. He comes as a true voice of contrast to burst the bubble in Guptaji’s predicament. When Guptaji tells him about how his red car with the L sign has gone missing, the shopkeeper says, “L to lag gaye aapke!” 

Actors Sharib Hashmi and Gauahar Khan essay the Gupta couple with such convincing flair that we feel transported back to the era of the simple Wagle ki Duniya.

The movie has some superbly witty writing which has only been elevated by the sharp delivery of the actors. They portray everyday middle-class people with much aplomb, taking us on the journey through their everyday life. In that journey, the writers of the film have carefully recreated a mindset that we’re all accustomed: the naïve belief that the ‘Divine’ will sort us out. Bhagwan bharose is such a mantra for a lot of people who, if they tried harder or more intelligently, may actually be able to avoid some of their mishaps plainly by putting logic ahead of belief. The middle class often tends to believe that Bhagwan Bharose actually implies him or her working in her favour. Which may not always be the case.

The film is a social commentary on class, patriarchy and faith, strung together by some very incisive comedic writing, taking us into the everyday life of a common man. Guptaji, the common man who is brilliantly played by Sharib Hashmi, knows how much he has to bust his derriere to earn the money he does. The idea of replacing an old car, therefore, becomes a matter of necessity more than preference.

The film is a social commentary on class, patriarchy and faith, strung together by some very incisive comedic writing, taking us into the everyday life of a common man.

Whereas Mrs Gupta – played effortlessly by Gauahar Khan – the opinionated housewife who is learning to drive, is in a hurry to send her “kitty” friends a selfie of her test-driving a new car, even if the new car is widely considered to be a middle-class favourite. She’s just opinionated like each one of us but her neighbours whisper how “ladaki” (argumentative) she is. Because that’s what we’re accustomed to calling women with a brain and a voice, you see.

So when the car gets stolen, Guptaji wants to file an FIR, but Mrs Gupta looks at it as an opportunity to get a new car. Somewhere in all this daily mundaneness comes the epitome of massy-ness in the form of “Bhai ka pickchar”. Tickets to a Salman movie is the luxury they seek and find more attainable, than deciding when to buy a car or if at all.  Sorry Bhaisaab is a must-watch, a delightful palate cleanser in this overcrowded OTT world that is so relatable, you’d just not want it to end! With feisty writing and charming first acts by the small cast, the film is thought-provoking in a most entertaining manner, with the only drawback being that it got over too soon.

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