Sufiyum Sujatayum review: A beautiful story of love and redemption that lacks impact
Director: Naranipuzha Shanavas
Cast: Aditi Rao Hydari, Dev Mohan, Jayasurya, Siddique, Hareesh Kanaran and Valsala Menon
Sufiyum Sujatayum, the first mainstream Malayalam film to be released on Amazon Prime, is a story of forbidden love and redemption. While this is not a film without its shares of flaws, it still manages to charm us with its fairytale romance and as a musical drama.
This story of a speech-impaired girl (Aditi Rao Hydari) from an upper caste Hindu family falling head over heels for a Sufi saint (Dev Mohan) is built on the concept of forbidden love but doesn’t offer much of a conflict.
As a musical love story, Sufiyum Sujatayum has a lot going for it from the first frame. M Jayachandran’s soul-stirring music and Anu Moothedath’s visuals work in tandem to create magic on screen, playing a very crucial part in making this fairytale romance come alive with some breathtaking moments. Unfortunately, their efforts don’t make up for the bland writing, one that merely scratches the surface when it comes to dealing with the subject of forbidden love. Sufiyum Sujatayum just feels like a lot of potential where the surface has barely been scratched.
Writer-director Naranipuzha Shanavas isn’t quite interested in building up the romance, making it quite difficult for us to understand why Sujata can’t get over Sufi even after a decade. We get that Sujata, who loves dancing, is charmed by the way Sufi sings and dances, and is smitten by his good looks. However, is that enough to make her fall for him blindly and cling on to him for so many years? Even the scenes between Sujata and Sufi don’t deliver despite the promising music and visuals.
Aditi Rao Hydari, in her comeback film to Malayalam cinema after a decade, does justice to the character of Sujata, a woman who expresses her emotions via sign language and gestures. It’s her show all the way, and she makes a strong impression with a believable yet restrained performance. Dev Mohan as the Sufi saint not just looks his part but plays it quite convincingly but his character is underwritten. Wish some more time was invested in building the character arcs of both Sujata and Sufi.
As the central characters on which the story is built, one wishes to spend more time with them to really understand what they feel for each other. Jayasurya, in an extended cameo, as Sujata’s husband, initially comes across as someone who is insecure about his wife’s past but his character gets more nuanced when he helps Sujata to get some closure.
It feels like Sufiyum Sujatayum takes an easy way out to tell a story of forbidden love. If only writer-director Naranipuzha Shanavas invested more time and effort in exploring greater depths, the film would’ve left a stronger impact. As audiences, we deserved some closure.
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