Set in Lucknow, ‘Gulabo Sitabo’s is a social satire that revolves around the lives of two men—Mirza and Baankey. While they keep devising schemes to bring each other down, a bigger conflict comes into play and leaves them with some crucial lessons about life. Using its satire, the film draws several subtexts that primarily revolve around one’s greed and desire to have it all. The film’s portrayal of society, in general, is not only funny but also hits home with its moral themes. So further down in this article, we’ll be breaking down all of these themes that it tries to flesh out during its runtime and we’ll also be explaining its ending.
A feud ensues between Mirza, the husband of the owner of Fatima Mahal Haveli, and a long term tenant Baankey, who refuses to pay the same rent as others. Then comes a day when Baankey unintentionally knocks down the wall of a public toilet in the haveli and really pisses off Mirza. When they take the matter to the police, an ASI Officer starts showing interest in the heritage of the vintage haveli. Along with him, even a local lawyer gets involved in the ownership wars for the haveli, and eventually, no one ends up winning this absurd rat race.
Early on in the movie, it is established that Mirza only pretends to be the landlord of the haveli while his wife, Begum, is the one who actually owns it. Mirza, who is only driven by his greed to own the haveli one day, hopes that his wife would die soon and leave the Fatima Mahal under his possession. Unfortunately for him, none of this comes easy.
When the ASI Officer comes lurking around the haveli and starts investigating it, Mirza fears that the officer is on Baankey’s side and desperately seeks help from a local lawyer to keep what he thinks belongs to him. The lawyer, who is known to have connections with a real-estate giant, convinces Mirza that he’ll easily be able to help him acquire the rights for his haveli and Baankey will be able to do nothing about it. Mirza believes him, but little does he realize that he’s digging up his own grave.
Baankey takes his resentment towards Mirza a bit too far and vows that if he won’t get to stay in the haveli, he’ll ensure that even Mirza meets the same fate. He joins forces with the ASI Officer who intends to establish a museum in the location. The officer also promises Baankey that he’ll provide a pretty good housing facility to him and the other tenants of the haveli. Buried too deep in his hate, Baankey follows the officer’s plan but little does he realize that he’s being deceived.
Mirza’s lawyer asks him to gets Begum’s fingerprints on some official documents of the haveli which would later allow him to acquire its ownership. But being the dimwit that he is, Mirza ends up taking fingerprints from her left hand instead of right and that’s when Begum realizes that he’s up to no good. After all the bickering between Baankey and Mirza, the ASI Officer finally shows up at the location to turn it into an architectural heritage. At the same time, Mirza’s lawyer shows up with the real estate giant who intends to use the land for his own profit. While another clash between the two parties ensues, Begum’s maid announces that Begum is gone.
At first, everyone assumes that Begum is dead which would mean that Mirza gets to acquire the haveli. However, when Mirza visits Begum’s room, he learns that Begum isn’t dead but has left him. In a letter that she leaves behind, she reveals it to Mirza that she realized how greedy he was about her haveli. And it’s this greed that drove her away from him. So with the help of a lawyer, who disguised himself as Begum’s doctor to enter the Haveli, she sold off her haveli to her ex-lover and ran away with him. With this, the haveli’s ownership is snatched right out of Mirza’s hands and even Baankey suffers because of the dire consequences of his actions.
The Ending: What it means for Baankey and Mirza?
There’s a scene in the early moments of the movie where Baankey peaches about greed and tells Mirza that it’s his greed that’ll eventually swallow him. The ending of the movie very well comes in tandem with this scene. While Begum celebrates her 95th birthday in the haveli, Baankey and Mirza watch her with awe from a distance and regret doing everything that they did. Baankey decides to move on with his life and Mirza is left with only a fancy-looking chair from the haveli. In the final moments of the movie, Baankey and Mirza meet again, now with all of their differences behind them since the haveli belongs to neither. Baankey asks Mirza why he married Begum in the first place, and even now, with no remorse, he claims that he had his eyes set on the haveli since the very beginning.
This is when Baankey asks him how much did he sell his chair for. To this, Mirza replies that “Rs. 150.” In the closing scene of the movie, the chair can be seen in a shop of antiques where it is priced at “Rs. 1,35,000.” The ending shows how Mirza was so blinded by his greed for the haveli that he never realized that he was sitting on a treasure all his life. If he had known that the value of his lavish chair was almost as much as the haveli, he would never have to put up with anything that he went through. But his need for grabbing onto more than he had eventually led him down a bottomless pit where he forgot all about everything that he could’ve grateful about. Meanwhile, even Baankey ends up losing everything just because all of his previous decisions were driven by his hate for Mirza.
Read More: Gulabo Sitabo Review