It’s important for any filmmaker to realise what she/he is making, the subject and artistic depth of their film, the kind of impact it’s likely to recreate and accordingly go about with the appropriate treatment and narration. Form the very first frame, Sufiyum Sujatayum comes across as too pretentious. It’s nothing more than another inter-religion love story, and a poorly conceived one at that, but writer-Director Naranipuzha Shanavas is convinced otherwise, believing that he has the next great artistic masterpiece in world cinema on his hands. The only things worse than bad film is a pretentious one, and sadly, Sufiyum Sujatayum is both.
Scroll down for my full Sufiyum Sujatayum review…
What’s it about
Mute Sujata (Aditi Rao Hydari) falls in love with Sufi priest (Dev Mohan), much to chagrin of her parents, who then waste no time in getting her married off to rich, Dubai-based NRI Rajeev (Jayasurya). Ten years down the line, the couple is informed that the Sufi priest has died, rekindling memories of Sujata’s past love and revealing the turbulent marriage she has shared with her husband, who decides to take her back to her village to confront her deeply buried past once and for all.
Anu Moothedath’s cinematography is extremely good, but the problem is that not a single frame matches the flimsy, mundane plot, only adding to the overall pretentiousness. Jayasurya also tries his best to rise above the sagging script, but fails to do much in the face of a toxic character.
The Hindu-Muslim love story has been done to death in every language in Indian cinema, and any attempts at such inter-religious, inter-caste tales needs buckets of energy and freshness a la Marathi film Sairat. However, Naranipuzha Shanavas thinks that all he needs to is show off some sexy camerawork, flaunt his artistic sensibilities and dive deep into religious jargon and voila, our minds will be blown away. Sorry, sir, but pseudo artistry isn’t a bit impressive. Making bad matters worse are the performances, with Aditi Rao Hydari being a one-note pony and Dev Mohan, a no-note piece piece of wood.
Moreover, as talented as Jayasurya is his character is so toxcially written — a male chauvinist who can’t see beyond his personal strife — that you can’t empathise with him for a second. A similar role was played by Ajay Devgn 21 years ago in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, whose entire plot is similar to Sufiyum Sujatayum, bit both the character and story were treated with such sincerity rather than pseudo artistry that we could connect with it. It doesn’t help either that editor Deepu Josehp’s final cut is easily haf an hour too long or that M. Jayachandran’s fails add value to a single scene in the film.
Sufiyum Sujatayum is a derelict, decrepit, soporific movie, borrowing several ideas from the past and pretending to peddle them as something deep and artistic. I’m going with 1 out of 5 stars.