I remember moving to Bombay for college four years back and struggling to find an apartment that was decent in size and did not pinch the pocket. When I managed to find one, it was still very expensive when compared to any other city in the country, but the joy of staying in Bombay was incomparable indeed. It is a difficult city to live in but once I adjusted to it, I didn’t want to live anywhere else. One gets used to the hustle and bustle and tries to find peace within that madness. Trust me when I say that a once-in-a-while short trip to Goa does help. Any young middle-class person living in Bombay can vouch for that. This need to escape from the everyday stressful life is what forms the basis of the film Tu Hai Mera Sunday, directed by Milind Dhaimade.
Five friends, Arjun (Barun Sobti), Dominic (Vishal Malhotra), Jayesh (Jay Upadhyay), Mehernosh (Nakul Bhalla) and Rashid (Avinash Tiwary), united by a common love for football, meet up to play the sport every Sunday. This continues until Arjun brings in an old man (Shiv Kumar Subramaniam), who hits the ball so hard that it hits a local politician and sports is banned at Juhu beach. The friends struggle to find a space and end up going back to their regular lives. After a long tiring week, Sunday is not just another day; it is an escape. One looks forward to it because it makes the Mondays a little more bearable. Since they can’t play football, they have to stay at home. They don’t just miss playing the sport, they also miss the bus and train rides, chilling with friends in small restaurants and making fun of each other. Frustration and anger begins to get to them and while some find new friends, some have public meltdowns. Dhaimade does not make these meltdowns overdramatic or an end-of-life situation; instead, it feels like a mood, which all of us experience once in a while. Their problems are not larger-than-life challenges and on a good day, one would not make a big deal about them.
A short trip to Goa brings all of them together, both old and new friends. The group has people from all ages with different socio-economic and religious backgrounds, having moved to Bombay from different parts of the country. Even though the diversity aspect of Bombay has been showed in films again and again, it does not feel like a cliché because this is what it is. My land lady is Tulu and our neighbours are Gujaratis. The guards in my building speak both Marathi and Bhojpuri and the name plates at the entrance tell me that other residents of the buildings are South Indians, Bohri Muslims and Parsis. This is just my building. It is a representation of how accommodating people in Bombay are. This is because, more often than not, Mumbaikars are united by a common passion; in my case, it was films and in the film, it was football, or the shared struggles of feeling lost in the crowd or overworked. The city’s workaholic nature gets to you and irrespective of the profession, you constantly feel that you haven’t achieved enough. You can’t celebrate a current achievement because you are too busy preparing for the next one. After returning from Goa, they go back to their regular lives but this time, it gets better and the frustration seems to have taken a back seat. Going on a Goa trip might also come across as a cliché, but it is the go-to plan for a lot of Mumbaikars because it is nearby, perfect for a weekend getaway and, most importantly, less crowded and quiet. It rejuvenates you.
This film is about five men, but it does not belong to them only. It has some really well-written women characters too. Kavi (Shahana Goswami), a marketing professional, looks after her sick father and when overworked does not hesitate in taking a break from all her responsibilities to just spend time by herself. She wants to have a good life and works towards it. Arjun is interested in her but hesitates because he thinks that he is too unambitious and laidback to give her a good life. But she tells him that she can fend for herself and proposes to him. Vinta (Maanvi Gagroo), a happy-go-lucky girl becomes the bridge between Dominic and his elder brother. She makes it a point to bond with Dominic, her brother-in-law-to-be, and it is her presence that eases the tension in their house. Tasneem (Rasika Dugal) is a cheerful single mother, always smiling and trying to communicate with her children in English. Her husband left her because she gave birth to two boys with hearing impairments. When Rashid says he is sorry to hear about what her husband did, she says it’s okay, that’s life. Her smile and spirit uplift both a hopeless Rashid and the viewer.
Tu Hai Mera Sunday is a sweet film that reminds you of the everyday joys and struggles of living in an overcrowded and busy city like Bombay. A city that constantly crushes as well as uplifts your spirit. A hectic day at college, extra lectures on a Sunday and back-to-back assignment submissions and presentations tear us apart; but it just took one film screening at college on Fridays, and discussing films with friends over a cup of chai in the canteen and in the local trains, to inspire us. The film is also a reminder of the lifelong bonds one forms with college friends, neighbours and the people with whom one shares a common interest. These friends become family, with whom you laugh and cry. In the film, their escapism was a Sunday and playing football; ours was a Friday and watching a film. Sunday, here, is a metaphor for the escapism one craves for when one feels lost in the hustle and bustle of Bombay.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.