Sui Dhaaga review: This Anushka Sharma-Varun Dhawan film needs severe alterations
Director - Sharat Katariya
Cast - Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma
Rating - 2/5
What makes a tailor special? There are tailors who have a knack for hiding curves, those who achieve mastery over apparent seamlessness, those who establish a rollicking rapport with customers, there are fast ones who can stitch a school’s worth of uniforms in one night, and those who — as we saw in the recent hit, Stree — can measure ladies from a distance, merely by looking at them.
Sharat Katariya’s Sui Dhaaga tells us Mauji, played by Varun Dhawan, is special — if only because he is played by Varun Dhawan. There is no discernible talent or specialisation to what he does, and this could have been potentially interesting: a hero without heroics. Unfortunately, this character is trapped in a depressingly dull film. Sui Dhaaga is a film so predictable that it is outclassed by its own theatrical trailer. The trailer doesn’t have groanworthy lines like “do rupaye mein bik gaye, Mamta” — “we have sold ourselves for two rupees, Mamta” — plus it gets over painlessly quick. The film takes over two hours to stitch together the same blasted story.
Watch the Sui Dhaaga trailer here
Entrepreneurship can make for stirring cinema. One of the most enjoyable examples remains Band Baaja Baaraat, starring Dhawan’s co-star Anushka Sharma. So fierce was Sharma that her character embodied the superb, serrated Hindi word for it — ‘farratedaar’ — while the film about wedding planners gave wings to young audiences. There is no such inspiration or insight to be found in this by-the-numbers affair. Sui Dhaaga is well acted, but films need more than flavour to stay afloat. This one is as exciting as embroidery — as exciting as watching a shirt pocket get monogrammed with a familiar logo, to be precise. It’s barely a Baaja.
Hindi film directors may have hit upon a way to look earnest. They have realised Dhawan looks good working quietly, which is why — like in the marvellous October earlier this year — they make him do some chores. He silently cleans, makes tea, sews. Katariya’s film, however, also makes him red-eyed. Dhawan’s character Mauji is intended to be a happy-go-lucky fellow but is almost always shown to us flustered, nearly on the verge of sobbing. Maybe he doesn’t like that sweater-vest and Manoj Prabhakar moustache.
Sharma, meanwhile, is made to simper. She plays a crucial role, the wife who allows her husband to believe in himself: he only dares to dream because she dares him to. She’s very good, and the two actors work well together, with him selling the injuries while she sells the anguish. Also, after being mousy throughout the film, her smile in the final act is fittingly, blindingly bright.
Raghubir Yadav is typically solid as Dhawan’s disgruntled father, and Namit Das — who also features in this week’s other release, Pataakha — has fun with his character, one who tickles people as hard as he laughs at his own jokes.
Without question, the film’s finest performance comes from Yamini Das, playing Dhawan’s mother. She is a mother who runs her house on autopilot, and can’t let go of instructions or kitchen utensils even when she’s collapsed from a heart attack. She chides her husband for crying over television soaps when he knows his heart can’t bear them, but later allows him to give her detailed recaps of those very shows — shows they both know she doesn’t really care for.
Katariya’s films have nuanced asides and routinely good dialogues, but despite all that this film refuses to get interesting. The background score balloons in orchestral style when things are sad, and becomes merrily desi whenever things are celebrated on screen. Lyricist Varun Grover writes some simply evocative lines, and I find it interesting that this proudly make-in-India film chose Anu Malik — a composer known for making knock-offs of established products and defiantly appropriating them — to make its music.
Sui Dhaaga is a feel-good film about dignity of labour, and the honest toil of a hard-working tailor. Too bad it feels machine-made.
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