Gutar Gu review: A sweet simple old school romance in the era of swiping right and left!

Sakshi Sharma
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Gutar Gu review:

Gutar Gu review: It's a sweet, nostalgic walk down memory lane of school, coaching classes, and all your firsts with someone!

Gutar Gu review: Do you remember the first time you had a crush on someone in school or in coaching classes? Those stolen glances, liking them from afar, learning all about them, their likes and dislikes, feeling like they are way out of your league, finding reasons to talk to them and when that same person with somehow with some miracle like you back and you end up in a relationship, then uff the length that you had to go through with juggling that relationship. Managing all the drama on Valentine's Day, hiding it from parents, studying and chatting all night, saving their name under a guise, eating street food with them after classes, giving each other gifts, and letters, everything that you experience is for the first time with them even the first kiss or the first fight! Gutar Gu on Amazon Mini TV throughout its six episodes will make you go down this exact memory lane.

Ritu (Ashlesha Thakur), and Anuj (Vishesh Bansal) are two young kids studying in the 12th grade in Bhopal. While Anuj hails from a traditional lower-middle-class home (it's the same house as Gullak's), Ritu has just shifted to Bhopal from Gurgaon and comes from a liberal upper-middle-class family. As pointed out by Umair (Shubham Kumar) and Adi (Tushar Shahi)'s lovely pair, in the show, their schools are far apart from each other, making their worlds quite different. Irrespective these two find each other in coaching classes and hence a series of firsts starts which is riddled with so-called bad macho advice that Anuj gets from men around him which are handled and tackled against Ritu's mature approach.

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Call me an old soul in a swipe right and left generation but I have never understood this concept of online casual/speed dating or whatever it is called. Or maybe it's Bollywood's fault or the hopeless romantic in me (who are you kidding we all are in some ways) but this small town's pure, sweet, and simple romance was an absolutely delightful, fun, and soulful watch. It was like eating that thandi ice cream as a child while it would drip all over in a heat wave! And the best part is that it's not just the romantic parts but the entire show that's a nostalgic walk down memory lane. When we were in school, we all had Maths ka darr, cheating tricks with chits and tepana, friends that were there with us through thick and thin quite literally whether it was food poisoning or fighting or going on a date for support. We've experienced teenage rivalry, crushes, many firsts in a relationship, high raging emotions, and the biggest shock of it - the reality of growing up.

The innocence of the show lies in its cute teenage romance between Ritu and Anuj (cue in: mera pehla pehla pyaar hai vo), and the fun male friendship between Anuj, Amit Bhaiya, Umair, and Adi will have you in splits. But what surprises you is the maturity with which this show has been crafted which is visible in its writing by Garima Kunzru and the vision of the show's creator and director Saqib Pandor. The way the genders are handled and the breakdown of the so-called macho-ness that young boys think is necessary for relationships with understanding and ease. Amit Bhaiya (Satish Ray) who is a self-proclaimed mentor/guide for these young boys, and a poster boy for macho-ness, gives outdated advice and tips that are rooted in patriarchy (girls don't like boys who wear rounded t-shirts, never say sorry first in a fight because you are a man, gift lingerie to profess your love), making it very clear that he never had a girlfriend. When he finally accepts this in front of Ritu, she just replies, "You never gave bad advice because you didn't have a girlfriend but because you never met a girl like me".

Also, that invisible yet visible class indifference that always interferes between Anuj and Ritu drives you to think about how the world still hasn't really changed, at least not as much as we think. Anuj, who comes from a not so strong financial background, barely jugaads money to set up a great Valentine's Day by breaking a gullak, asks for money and worries about the bill when Ritu takes them to a fancy rooftop cafe. When Ritu's Gurgaon friends come to Bhopal, all they want to do is touristy and fun stuff like eat in a cafe, go sightseeing and take too many selfies and belittle Anuj. There's a stark difference between that and the real bhopali fun like eating chole bhature at a street side place, drink banta instead of cold coffee.

The series also never forgets that it's situated in Bhopal where when mothers of young boys find out that Amit Bhaiya who keeps on calling is actually a girl named Ritu, you see him grounded in the American way with an Indian style, or where a young traditional boy is too confused yet awed by a girl's liberal father who knows and is perfectly fine with his daughter dating someone. Every episode's name resonated with a phase in Anuj and Ritu's relationship where Anuj's innocence and conformity, which often gets sidetracked, is balanced out with Ritu's calm and composed maturity.

With a super amazing background score by Gaurav Chatterji, dialogues like 'dost ke pyaar ke liye dast hi laga lenge', 'muft ka chandan ghis mere nandan', 'dil ki baat innerwear ke saath', and more with a Bhopali accent will make you laugh out loud. An exceptional cast that includes Ashlesha Thakur, Vishesh Bansal, Satish Ray, Shubham Kumar, Tushar Shahi, and more, Gutar Gu produced by Oscar-winning Guneet Monga, and Achin Jain is a great watch for a light, fun yet mature old-school coming-of-age teen romance drama. This world (that looks too familiar with TVF teen setups) reminded me of my school days when technology still didn't dominate our lives so much!

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