Whenever Gangoobai strains credibility and causes the eyebrows to disappear into the upper recesses of the forehead—and it often does—it’s useful to remember that the movie is a fairy tale. Gangoobai is the believe-it-or-not story of a domestic help from Matheran who saves up money to buy an expensive Parsi gara sari.

In order to rustle together the amount needed to buy the heavily embroidered traditional garment, Gangoobai (Sarita Joshi), a widow, works hard, lifting luggage and tolerating the obnoxious behaviour of one of her two employers. Having finally saved up the money, off she goes to the big bad city of Mumbai to a shop where the saris are sold.

Mumbai turns out to be big but not bad and the shop is actually a high-end boutique with more credit-loving customers than paying ones. There, Gangoobai meets an assortment of characters who will influence the course of her life, including a moneyed Parsi gent, a model, the boutique manager and in-house fashion designer. Gangoobai purchases the sari of her dreams, but she has to wait for a few days before it can be delivered to her. Matheran is not too far from Mumbai, but rather than borrowing money (she spent her last paisa on the gara) and going home for a bit, Gangoobai finds shelter with Waman (Purab Kohli), an employee at the boutique. Really? Of course—it’s a fairy tale, remember?

Waman doesn’t mind sharing his well-appointed matchbox with a complete stranger for days on end. Au contraire, he welcomes it, since it brings him closer to the model, Monisha (Nidhi Sunil), who develops tremendous affection for Gangoobai. Class differences melt like ice cream on a summer day as Gangoobai hangs out with Waman and Monisha, befriends the aforementioned wealthy Parsi gent (Behram Rana) and wins over the hearts of boutique manager Daksha (Meeta Vasisht) and designer Rohan (Raj Zutshi).

Writer and director Priya Krishnaswamy keeps the proceedings simple and the emotions even simpler. Joshi, best known as the mater familias in the long-running television series Baa Bahoo aur Baby, gives the role her all, moving dexterously from inhibited maid amid the haute couture crowd to wise old woman who encourages Waman to pursue his love. The other performances are serviceable, with Sunil standing out as the model with a golden heart in a city of possible dreams.

Gangoobai released in theatres on Friday.

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