Sui Dhaaga: Made In India
Sui Dhaaga: An Endearing First Half Let Down By A Unconvincing Second Half
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by Sharat Katariya, Sui Dhaaga is a comedy-drama film starring Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma in lead roles. At first, the film appears promising but after a while, it derails into an unconvincing territory. Just as long as Sui Dhaage sticks to small yet endearing victories, it works. But as soon as it tries to achieve the best of both worlds by throwing in some conventional Bollywood twists, it disappoints.
Hailing from a family of artisans who’ve dedicated their lives to native crafts like tailoring and block-printing, Mauji (Varun Dhawan) strives to follow the same path. But his father, (Raghubir Yadav) is hell-bent on his son chasing a steady job that promises enough money for survival. His father’s decision comes from having witnessed the low wages that follow native professions such as theirs. So, the always optimistic Mauji reports to a boss who has him role-playing animals. Mauji’s introvert wife Mamta (Anushka Sharma), however, has big dreams for him. She wants Mauji to step out of his humiliating job and win self-respect and money by taking up tailoring. Whether or not Mauji and Mamta find self-respect and success in their entrepreneurial journey against the wishes of their family members form the crux of the film.
At first, Sui Dhaaga is simple, sincere and simply endearing. Finding extraordinary stories from the predictability of daily life has been director Sharat Katariya’s strong suit. In Dum Laga Ke Haisha, you met characters who feel like your neighbors and you are taken through a story that feels familiar and comforting. Similarly, in Sui Dhaga, the introduction shot establishing Mauji’s family grows on you with ample amounts of nostalgia and familiarity. You know you’ve seen these characters in real-life. A jovial and optimistic Mauji, his paradox of a wife, his lovable mother putting together breakfast and a father who becomes emotional while viewing Indian television soaps. This is the kind of quirky family one can easily connect with. This is why you instantly take a liking to the film.
From here on, everytime the characters meet with a small victory, you celebrate with them. For instance, when Mauji finds himself unable to afford a sewing machine, you feel bad. You are overjoyed when he finally puts together the means to buy one. Such small wins appear not only real but also endearing. In such small yet priceless ways, the film wins you over.
Even the relationship between Mauji and Mamta is weaved together in quite a feel-good manner. Initially, you see them barely talking with each other. Some or the other hurdle restricts them from getting to know each other. But as they set out on their entrepreneurial journey, in the process of earning success, their love for each other also blooms. This transition is showcased by the director in a gradual, subtle and efficient manner.
But just as the film shifts to its second half, it ruins everything you loved about it in the first. The simple gestures transform into large and unbelievable gestures. The realism in the film is traded for Bollywood-style melodrama. Picture this, two small-town, folks with no education in fashion designing transform quickly from artisans to fashion designers. How is this convincing? How does Mauji start designing western attire all of a sudden? This is when the direction becomes forced and awkward.
As they venture into the urban setting, the director handles their culture shock in quite a nonsensical manner. He spoils the realism further by bringing in a patriotic subtext too. The made in China versus Made in India stretches are far too exaggerated and feels fabricated.
But through-out these unwarranted detours, the appeal of Sui Dhaaga’s characters remain. They are the only reason why you sit throughout the film. If only director Sharat had tapped into the underdog potential of this tale much, much more.
As Mauji, Varun Dhawan is sincere, kind and incredibly likable. But his physical appearance is too polished for him to seem like a rural townsman. Nevertheless, his comical timing saves the day. As Mamta, Anushka Sharma takes a half-baked role and plays it with utmost confidence and conviction. The way Mamta finds liberation without ever raising her voice, her calm nature and unconventional attitude, makes her different from Indian Cinema’s common perception of empowerment.
The cinematography and music in Sui Dhaaga stand as strong pillars of support in bringing alive the director’s vision. The cinematography finds breathtaking details in the ordinary and the music reminds one of the soundtracks of Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
On the whole, Sui Dhaaga’s first half is endearing but its second half is too filmy to handle. If you are in a forgiving mood, this film is likely to entertain you.