Sui Dhaaga: Earnest performances in an aimless film

According to Varun Dhawan’s Mauji, sab badhiya hai, but in Sui Dhaaga: Made In India, there is very less that is actually nice. Director Sharat Katariya writes a narrative with his heart, but forgets what he majorly wants to talk about through his film.

Sui Dhaaga is about Mauji and Mamta (Anushka Sharma), who we are introduced to as a married couple, living in a loveless marriage. There is no love because there is no time. He is busy making ends meet while she is cooking in the kitchen. And whatever time they have together, they’re never alone because they live with his parents and the house is small, so there is no personal space. Mamta makes Mauji quit his job to start something of his own because “do paise kam aaenge magar izzat toh rahegi.” And then starts the tale of Sui Dhaaga, where Katariya’s lead characters weave their own story of entrepreneurship, promoting the current Government’s #MakeInIndia initiative.

Both Mauji and Mamta are emotional characters and Katariya has written them well. His idea to talk about the idea of self sufficiency is also great. But the film doesn’t have an aim. Whether Katariya wants to make Sui Dhaaga about ‘Make In India’ or about the unspoken love Mamta and Mauji have for each other, or about familial issues, is very unclear. He’s tried to deal with too many things all at once. All of this would have been a little better had the narrative been faster. There is too much foreplay before the main action unfolds. And the script is too convenient. If there is a problem, either of Mauji or Mamta are already ready with a solution. Mamta and Mauji belong to a poor family, happily living their lives off his Rs 6000-7000 salary, but when it comes to paying off a Rs 70,000 hospital bill, it’s somehow managed and we’re not told how.

Varun Dhawan brings his best to the table and plays Mauji with complete honesty. Anushka Sharma as Mamta is as earnest as well. They give their characters everything they can. But both Sharma and Dhawan don’t naturally look them. There is no doubt about the performances they give. But, blame the make-up team or whoever, I couldn’t buy Dhawan and Sharma as a poor couple. Her saree is always perfect, and only one of her sarees is repeated. He, on the other hand, has perfectly gelled hair. In a scene Mamta says that they left their village and came to the city in search of a better life. But neither their way of talking, nor their accent is village like. Mauji and Mamta seem to be an urban middle class couple. But the truth is, that they aren’t.

In Katariya’s last outing, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, both Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar) and Prem (Ayushmann Khurrana) belonged to small town India and apart from giving wonderful performances, both Pednekar and Khurrana looked as if they belonged to the narrative and to the locality very naturally. In Sui Dhaaga, that thread goes missing.

Katariya’s film talks a lot about India’s aim of self sufficiency, and while Mamta and Mauji win in the end, this part of the cloth isn’t stitched with care, because their struggle is not just clumsy, but absent. In Balki’s PadMan, we saw the struggle Akshay Kumar’s Lakshmi went through to make the sanitary napkins from absolutely nothing. Here, in Sui Dhaaga, there is ambition to do the similar thing, in both Mamta and Mauji and Katariya, but effort isn’t.

But, the film does have some shining moments. Like in Dum Laga Ke Haisha, even in Sui Dhaaga, he creates magic in everyday life – in the relationships of all characters, the ailing mother, the relentless father, and more. But unfortunately, these moments come and go.

The music of the film is good, especially Chaav Laga, but the aim here seems to be to create another Moh Moh Ke Dhaage. And just having good songs isn’t the point. Except Chaav Laga and Sui Dhaaga, none of the songs are made to blend into the narrative. They’re just there.

All in all, directors now need to realise that just with a social cause and good actors, a good film isn’t always possible. Both Sharma and Dhawan do their part really well, but these parts seem to not be written for them.

If I had to rate the film…

2 Stars

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