Aesthetic but Charmless
50%Overall Score

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

It was indeed a revelation when actor-producer Vijay Babu announced his latest film’s release on an OTT Platform. In fact, ‘SufiyumSujatayum’ directed by NaranipuzhaShanavasis the first ever Malayalam film that gets a direct digital premiere. Since film releases in cinema halls is still in dilemma, this decision has been warmly welcomed by audience and Malayalam film fraternity alike. ‘SufiyumSujatayum’ that features Aditi Rao Hydari, Jayasurya and newcomer Dev Mohan in the lead is a romantic musical which is shot and made well, but the film somewhere lacks depth.

Sujatha (Aditi Rao Hydari) is a mute Kathak dancer living in a pretty little village somewhere on the borders of Kerala. She is mesmerised by a Sufi saint (Dev Mohan), a new entrant to the village and they fall in love through gazes, azaan, clarinet music and notes. However, her father disapproves of this relationship, makes Sufi leave the village and gets Sujatha married to Rajeev (Jayasurya) who is settled in Dubai. 10 years later, Sujatha is still stuck in the past and shares a very cold relationship with her husband. Sufi, who had left the village years ago, returns uninvited, creating more chaos in Sujatha’s life.

A lost opportunity

The film has many angles – a Hindu-Muslim love story, the love jihad angle and a distressed marriage – which had the potential to be developed into something solid. But the makers missed the opportunity and only touched these aspects vaguely. The love that nurtures between Sufi and Sujatha is quite clichéd and lacks intensity. It had many moments that could have been made memorable, but somehow, it loses grip. Sujatha seems to be obsessed with Sufi even after marriage, but this situation lacks conviction as all that happens between Sujatha and Sufi are just a few months of sharing glances and nothing concrete. The makers have rather focused on making the film art and a visual treat, which it sure is, but if at all it had a stronger plot, the film would have been more enjoyable sans its lag. Yet, the film’s take on closure is quite unique and should be appreciated.

Aditi Rao Hyadri steals the show

The film revolves around Sujatha and Aditi Rao Hydari, who essays the character, is a treat to watch. She beautifully portrays the young, mute girl through her expressions. She is so charming and graceful; you just cannot take your eyes off of her. You may wonder about her appearance which isn’t quite village-esque but she makes up for it with her performance. Jayasurya has an extended cameo and he is, as always, quite good. Dev Mohan gets an interesting debut and has done a good job; however, his character isn’t well defined nor does he get enough opportunity to perform. Manikandan Pattambi and Siddique deserve special mention for essaying their respective roles excellently.

A treat to your senses

What stands out the most is the surreal setting. The set up looks fabulous. Anu Moothedath has created magic through his cinematography – the close-up and wide-angle shots are quite visually pleasing. The flimsy plot is rescued by M Jayachandran’s stellar music. The Sufi touch in both songs and background score is mesmerising. In fact, music is the pillar of this film, kudos to M Jayachandran.

WATCH OR NOT

SufiyumSujathayum’ in a nutshell is a unique experience and can be watched once. Watch it for Aditi, its divine music and surreal visuals. The lag might get on you, so just be prepared.

Director: Naranipuzha Shanavas
Writer: Naranipuzha Shanavas
Cast: Aditi Rao Hydari, Jayasurya, Dev Mohan, Siddique, Kalaranjini, Manikandan Pattambi
Music: M Jayachandran
Language: Malayalam
Streaming on: Amazon Prime