Udaharanam Sujatha is the official remake of the 2016 Hindi movie Nil Battey Sannata which was written by Nitesh Tiwari (director of Dangal) and directed by his wife Ashwini Iyer Tiwari. Phantom Praveen has come up with the Malayalam version of this film and I must say that it does justice to the original by capturing its emotional core very convincingly. With creative tweaks given to the story making it an appreciable effort, this Manju Warrier starrer is definitely worth a watch.
Sujatha is this woman who lives in Chenkalchoola colony. She does multiple jobs to meet the needs of her family. Her only daughter Athira is not an ambitious girl. Athira has this ideology that she will eventually become a maid as her mother is a maid. Sujatha who wanted to see her daughter doing a more dignified job got puzzled after hearing this and she decided to do something that would make Athira work hard. What she did and how it goes is what Udaharanam Sujatha showing us.
For those of you who have seen Nill Battey Sannata (I haven’t seen Amma Kanakku- The Tamil version), the feeling Udaharanam Sujatha ultimately gives you is the same as the Hindi film. I really liked Nill Battey Sannata. Even though it has a predictable preachy tone for a major portion of its runtime, there is a heartening phase in the film in the last 20 minutes. Martin Prakkat and Naveen Bhaskar who has written the Malayalam version tweaks these portions creatively and I felt it was a bit more intense than the original. Similar to the original film, Udaharanam Sujatha also shifts from being a predictable okay happy film to an emotionally absorbing film in its last quarter. With actors delivering a realistic outburst of insecurities of characters, the film leaves a positive impression.
This could well be the best of Manju Warrier in her second innings (I know that phrase has got used a lot of times). As Sujatha she is more fluent and flexible. There is no theatrical texture in her performance. The dialect was really good and the body language of the character was portrayed very impressively by her. Aiswarya Rajan who played the role of the daughter also gets the dialect and emotions correctly. Joju George plays the role of the mathematics teacher and the humor was quite hilarious. Nedumudi Venu was good and Mamta Mohandas is there in a small yet important role. Swaraj Gramika, Sudhy Kopa, Abhija and many more are there in the cast.
Phantom Praveen makes sure that the content is communicated in a real and raw way. The situations are dramatic but the reactions aren’t. He manages to bring out the most natural acting from his performers. Parents forcing their dreams on children was one criticism Nitesh Tiwari faced for Dangal. This story also has that side of the argument which they are not trying to address. That demerit of the Hindi version is not resolved in the Malayalam version too. But what I liked is the inclusion of certain new characters to make the plot look more intense. Martin and Naveen introduce two new characters played by Sudhy Koppa and Abhija. While Sudhy Kopa’s character addresses one side of the sacrifice Sujatha makes in life, Abhija’s character intensifies the impact of the irresponsible thing Athira did towards the climax. The template format of the screenplay is a little underwhelming at some parts. Cinematography was good keeping things real and capturing the texture of the lives of the underprivileged. It seems like Gopi Sundar delivers good tracks when he is in association with Martin Prakkat.
Udaharanam Sujatha is as good as its original version. It has flaws for sure. But the quality performances, emotionally appealing soul of the script and the creative tweaks they have added makes the movie a worthy watch.
The quality performances, emotionally appealing soul of the script and the creative tweaks they have added makes Udaharanam Sujatha a worthy watch.