Sufiyum Sujatayum aspires to be a poignant tale of a woman’s quest for closure. The issue is that the movie only has discrete moments in it that actually make the viewer feel the depth and intensity of the silent yet expressive romance. Sufiyum Sujatayum is the kind of movie that should make the audience feel for the title characters even after the movie is over, but here once the credits start rolling, there is an immediate disconnect.
Sujata is a mute individual who knows Kathak and loves dancing, especially to Sufi music. She goes to the nearby Jinn mosque and the Imam there is extremely fond of her and he is a good friend of Sujata’s father. During that time, a new Sufi came to that mosque and his ability to do the Sufi dance mesmerizes Sujata and the two gradually fell in love. The communal tension and the orthodox mindset obviously made it difficult for them and the movie talks about the developments in the story almost after a decade.
Shanavas Naranippuzha isn’t giving us too many details about the setting of the story. From whatever names I could hear in the movie, it feels like the story is set in a place in Wayanad that shares border with Karnataka. The costumes and production design are striving to achieve a fantasy-like texture to the movie rather than being political about the content. The idea here is to show the beauty of an unspoken yet deep connection between two individuals. Even though the beautiful Sufi music and the montages with the dance moves and lovely expressions of Aditi Rao Hydari are engaging, it just doesn’t felt sufficient for us to feel for the couple when we see a different kind of tension towards the end of the movie.
Aditi Rao Hydari as Sujata was indeed a great choice. Her performance combines enthusiasm, curiosity, and vigor in Sujata. Jayasurya as Rajeev gets more chance to perform towards the latter half of Sufiyum Sujatayum and it was actually his performance that helped the movie in creating the much-needed tension. Another mentionable performance was from Manikandan Pattambi. Siddique as usual gets into the skin of the character effortlessly. Dev Mohan as the titular character Sufi has the looks to be a charmer, but his performance lacked the much-needed charisma. If the chemistry of the lead pair was a bit warmer, it could have helped the movie greatly.
To those people who are approaching this movie as the second film by the man who made Karie, you will be disappointed. While Karie was more political, more nuanced, and subtle, here almost everything is on your face. Shanavas Naranippuzha this time chooses to go after the glossiness and drama of a troubled relationship. What I felt good about the climax was that it eventually helps you in giving a complete shape to all the main characters. Rajeev’s anger from the beginning and the adamant nature of Sujata as a mother is a bit confusing for us in the beginning and the movie looks at them empathetically. The visuals by Anu Moothedath are trying to achieve that semi-fantasy visual grammar. The music and background score by veteran M Jayachandran plays a crucial role in creating the ambiance.
Sufiyum Sujatayum is a watchable musical romance that needed more depth. Building an aura around Sufi and Sujatha was essential, but that part was somewhat half baked. With some good performances and well blended immersive songs, Sufiyum Sujatayum is a passable drama that has its moments very sporadically.
With some good performances and well blended immersive songs, Sufiyum Sujatayum is a passable drama that has its moments very sporadically.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended