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Sulaikha Manzil

Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
4 Star popcorn reviewss


It is still a Thursday and a day away from the weekend but admittedly, this week has been quite disappointing with most of the new releases. I can’t remember when I was privy to a string of lows as much as this week has had to offer in terms of the new content. And for the final review of the week before the weekend, I decided to head towards a new Malayalam film to break the jinx. With that, I finished watching the new Malayalam film Sulaikha Manzil which is now streaming on Hotstar.

Of late, there has been a surge in Malayalam films with a feel-good theme. Films like Charles Enterprises, Pookkaalam and even Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkam have reintroduced the genre to the audience who had been far too exposed to thrillers and mysteries particularly in the OTT space. When it did come to Sulaikha Manzil, the film did give me a sweet little vibe of a Rom-Com while being true to the feel-good genre. As always, I knew nothing about the film or what ir had to offer except for a fact that the film was directed by Ashraf Hamza whose previous film Bheemante Vaazhi was an excellent film in my opinion. So then does Sulaikha Manzil manage to impress, lets find out.

Story & Screenplay

Sulaikha Manzil follows the story of a couple whose wedding is arranged at the very last minute. Will they get to know each other before they tie the knot? Such has been the case of Malayalam films wherein there are sleander storylines picked only to create such an impactful screenplay in the process. And Sulaikha Manzil is not any different. The theme of butterflies in the stomach before the big day leading to a bit of a tiff is wonderfully well explored here. The screenplay standing at a shade under 2 hours makes for a heartwarming narrative with nicely integrated situational humour in the narrative.

The drama does open with a song which was unusual for a Malayalam film given how world building is an integral part of their films. But it is through this song that the audience are provided with a little prelude featuring the protagonist who is in love with her friend which only strains her relationship with her brother after he expresses his displeasure. This prelude was important to highlight the guilt that her brother had to live with following the death of his sister’s lover that carries on for years. Soon, you are introduced to the protagonist and the wedding preparations that are underway, something that leads to a heartfelt chaos in the lives of the two protagonists.

Quite early on, the writers invest sufficient time in building characters amidst the wedding setup that does make for a compelling viewing. The lack of communication between the two protagonists is a central conflict which unfolds like a slow poison, escalating gently with every passing scene. The narrative is character driven which means different characters been put in a situation and how they react to it. This forms some of the subtly hilarious moments which I am sure would be relatable to many. When the wedding preparation is at its peak, there are bound to be misunderstandings even amidst the family members, and all of that is shown in such an organic manner here. But the narrative never loses sight on the ongoing communication gap between the protagonists that does form two important scenes in the narrative – one at the halfway mark and the other at the end.

As they say, getting someone married is not less than fighting a battle. And this statement does come true in the film. Yet, the writers never really get carried away as they pack in some really heartfelt moments in the screenplay that tingle in your heart for that much longer. I could definitely relate to the character of the protagonist who doesn’t get a prompt reply from his to-be wife. Yet, the balanced narrative does ensure the viewers also get a perspective from the other side, which is so important in a relationship, to understand your partner throughout. Some of the subplots are well written too, all in the space of a wedding day chaos. The events leading up to the final act are pretty heartfelt particularly that final scene that completes the circle for the film(from the prelude). Overall, the screenplay here is really well written and it makes for a heartwarming watch.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are conversational but laced with humour and make for a solid impact. The music is beautiful and every song here stands out while never stalling the flow of the drama. In fact, the songs deserve a playlist of their own, something that I shall do for days to follow. The BGM is nuanced and adds layers to the drama. The cinematography is excellent and some of the wide frames were to die for, beautifully captured! Even the buildup of the tensions was beautifully shot and represented across scenes. To give you an instance, there were two groups of people sitting and talking with one group wearing the jersey of Ronaldo and the other group donning the jersey of Messi which did prepare the viewers for the “fight” to follow. The editing is crisp and sharp throughout. Director Ashraf Hamza does a fabulous job by creating moments throughout the screenplay that do engage viewers and keep them invested throughout.


The performances are brilliant by the ensemble cast. Shebin Benson shines in a cameo as Ashiq. Rithu as Fida, Jolly Chirayath as Haleema and Shamsudheen as Arun have their moments to shine. Adhri Joe as Adnan and Nirmal Palazhi as Anakath are fabulous to watch. Archana Padmini as Hawwa, Noushad Ali as Anwar and Shabareesh Varma as Ramzan are phenomenal in their respective roles. Deepa Thomas as Dr. Amina has a good screen presence in a wonderfully performed character. Ganapathi Poduval as Adil is such a natural onscreen in a job done so well. Amalda Liz as Bathool is wonderfully restrained in a very dignified character and performed brilliantly so. Chemban Vinod Jose as Sameer is really heartfelt and the mountains of guilt that his character carries within him and wonderfully represented here. Anarkali Marikar as Haala is excellent here. There were so many layers in her character and she has pulled off her role with such nuance and sincerity. Lukman Avaran as Ameen is quite affable here with a charming little presence. He is brilliant and brings across the vulnerabilities if his character just so well.


Sulaikha Manzil is a playful and heartwarming drama on the butterflies before marriage that comes with my highest recommendation! Available on Hotstar and Highly Recommended.

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