Onto the next release of the weekend and I decided to watch and review the first theatrical of the weekend, the Hindi film Sukhee. Every now and then, there are films attempted on women empowerment or simply midlife issues transforming in subtle oppression amomgst women. I firmly believe that these films are essential for the well being of the society who does take their ‘women’ figures for granted every jow and then. The feminist in me has always chosen to take a stand while reviewing such films, which is why I wanted to support a film lile Sukhee(provided it was well made ofcourse). There have been a handful of films in this category like Tumhari Sulu and my favourite English Vinglish, and each of them have managed to convey the message while providing a dose of entertainment along the way. And I went into the film Sukhee with similar expectations. So then does Sukhee manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Sukhee follows the story of a housewife who decides to attend her school reunion, much to the displeasure of her family. The drama marks her journey of self discovery all over again. The story has nothing new to offer in terms of its content or even the issues which it chooses to raise. But at the same time, the story isn’t a downer as well – it is sweet and breezy that does just enough to keep you invested. The screenplay standing at almost 140 minutes was definitely on the higher side for the film belonging to this genre. Atleast 20 to 25 minutes of the film could easily have been chopped off for a crisper edit. There are sequences which didn’t quite add up but the drama still steers itself to safety with some tender moments.
The drama does begin with the introduction of the protagonist who is a housewife, and her one job according to her husband is to take care of the household while he does the ‘heavy-lifting’ for the family. The writers create moments of indifference between the couple and also between the protagonist and her daughter that successfully gives an impression to the viewer on the stage that the protagonist finds herself in, which are far from the days of joy that she had once witnessed in her college/school days. The twist in the tale comes in the form of an invitation for a reunion, something that she chooses to attend after much deliberation. The writers spend a decent amount of time in the world building although the events are simplistic to begin with.
The proceedings are decent and there are definitely some moments which shall put a smile on your face. Yet, the tone of the drama is preachy wherein the writers choose to convey the message in a rather verbose note, and that is where the film falters. The drama works best when the characters react to the situation that they find themselves in. For instance, the father-daughter duo coping with the absence of the protagonist does make for a rather fun watch. Elsewhere, the protagonist reuniting with her pals does result in some heartwarming moments. But I did feel that the melodrama could have been reduced drastically in the narrative, and instead the focus could have been on the nostalgia angle(for instance, venturing on a road trip for that matter), keeping the outside noise aside. That would have resulted in a further heartwarming tale of self discovery.
To be fair, the writers introduce several moments that pull back your attention in the drama at regular intervals. As a result, every wrong move is undone in the subsequent scenes thus resulting in a mixed kind of a narrative. There are moments of laughter along the way especially after the ‘food-trip’ of the gang. But(and this is a giveaway that the word ‘but’ is used every now and then in the narrative by me) the entire sequence involving horse riding and being a jockey was so far-fetched(besides passing off Mahalaxmi race course as Delhi) that it resulted in me being slightly disconnected with the film. Yes, I did understand the point of self-discovery but the sequence did not sit well with me. Thankfully, there are some self-aware conversations(including the Baazigar homage) leading up to the final act that steers the film to safety. Overall, the screenplay is a mixed bag tending towards being positive that makes for a decent watch.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational with some hidden gems to be discovered in the form of homages along the way. The music is melodious and gels well with the drama. The BGM is adequate and accounts for a decent viewing. The cinematography is decent, the editing could definitely have been crisper to overcome the lag in the drama, particularly in the middle. Director Sonal Joshi does a decent job in her debut outing. She does create some heartfelt moments but at times doesn’t quite control the melodrama which is why the film gets heavier than required at certain junctures. Yet, the direction is still pretty good given how the events in the story are tied together with some self-aware events to steer the drama to safety.
The performances are pretty good here. Jyoti Kapoor has her moments to shine as the nosey neighbour. Maahi Jain as Jassi has a nice little character arc and she does justice to her character. Amit Sadh as Vikram is affable and well restrained in an extended cameo. Chaitannya Choudhry as Guru is excellent and I loved how his character was nuanced and not vilified by any stretch of imagination. And the character transformation at the end was also quite heartwarming. Dilnaz Irani as Mansi is so much fun to witness onscreen, and she nails one of her one-liners. Pavleen Gujral as Tanvi is first rate and quite impressive as well. Kusha Kapila as Meher is such a natural onscreen and she presented the most confident version of herself in front of the camera. Shilpa Shetty Kundra as Sukhee was a delight to watch, right from her mannerisms to her body language(and later transformations in that space). It was still a very heartfelt and dignified act by her which would be relatable to so many women out there! She was pure joy to witness onscreen.
Sukhee is a decent slice of life drama about midlife issues and self discovery which can be watched once. Available in a theatre near you.