Gutar Gu Review: Sweet Romance

It is possible that today’s kids would find Gutar Gu too vanilla, but it might have greater nostalgia-inducing appeal for older viewers, observes Deepa Gahlot.

Gutar Gu, a teen romance, exists in a fluffy cloud of innocence.

Were it not for the constant use of cell phones, laptops and social media, Gutar Gu could have belonged to a distant past, before the ugliness of crime, violence and sexed-up teens permeated the world and made its way to OTT.

Set in Bhopal, the six-part series, created and directed by Saqib Pandor (produced by Guneet Monga and Achin Jain), is an ordinary love story of Ritu (Ashlesha Thakur) and Anuj (Vishesh Bansal) which stands out because of its sweet simplicity.

Bhopal is a rapidly urbanising town with malls and cafes but small enough for a boy and girl seen together to generate gossip.

The boys of the Hindi medium Bhojnagri School do not even dream of talking to the girls of the posh co-ed Paul Williams.

Ritu, whose family has just relocated from Gurugram, unselfconsciously chats with Anuj at the coaching class they attend, and he is immediately smitten.

His giggling boy pals already fast forward one casual conversation into a great romance before the hero and heroine have even thought about step two.

One can surmise that stepping out of the macho environment of Gurugram, where street harassment of girls is routine, Ritu must be charmed by the shy and respectful Anuj.

The boy, on the other hand, needs advice from the older, world-weary Amit Bhaiya (a hilarious Satish Ray). His kid brother is, however, smarter and more devious than the dorky Anuj.

Anuj, with his goofy grin and lingering baby fat, is incapable of being dishonest, and after their first tentative date goes bust, he even blurts out the real reason for his no-show — his father sent him out to get extra holes punched on his belt. (Awwww! Is this guy for real?)

The friendship turns to love through a series of gently funny by believable episodes — like a jock-like admirer of Ritu from her school challenging Anuj to a duel (‘Jo harega woh Ritu se rakhi bandhwayega‘); or the time when Ritu’s Gurugram friends visit and look down on the eager-to-please Anuj.

Under the threat of the Hindutva groups fulminating on television, Ritu and Anuj’s Valentine date is unexpectedly stressful.

Then, there is the discovery of Anuj’s secret by his dragon mom.

Heartening to note that Ritu is not a bimbette. She is a class topper and career oriented, though she prematurely accorded ‘bhabhi‘ status by the other boys.

Bhopal’s landmark Manuabhan Tekri plays an important part in the story. Of course, it is unlikely that the tourist spot would be left vacant for the young couple’s privacy.

Still, with the town spread below like a patch work quilt, the view from the Tekri gives a top-of-the-world feeling.

Gutar Gu is not the first project of Thakur or Bansal — they had also acted in Pandor’s earlier short film Gupt Gyaan — but they have the fresh-faced look of uncorrupted teenagers.

It is possible that today’s kids would find the show too vanilla (at 17, who thinks of growing old together!). But it might have greater nostalgia-inducing appeal for older viewers.

Gutar Gu streams on Amazon MiniTV.


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