010/2019 – Sui Dhaaga: Made in India
(Sharat Kataria/2018/India/Hindi/122 mins)
Sui Dhaaga has terrific performances by the leads, for whom you cannot help but root. They are surrounded by the kind of supporting cast which elevates the film with their presence. The first half is really believable and engrossing, but the treatment of the second half throws away a lot of the potential built up in the first half, and we are left with a movie that could have been so, so good, but in effect, is really just cute and nice.
[SPOILERS]: We think the problem lies in the way Yashraj Productions are scripted, with a deliberate need to end most of their stories by making the protagonists win some competition. While the whole idea of skill-based entrepreneurship is wonderful, the thought that their first frontier must be to win a national-level fashion designing contest is a bit of a let-down. The trope is exhausted. For a story which starts off by pitching the idea of dignified self-sufficiency, and where the leads struggle repeatedly to make sense of the world, the gamble they take in the end seems more driven by ego and anger, than by common sense. Reality shows and high-end competitions are not the only parameter to define success. Nope! [SPOILERS END]
But none of this really matters when you have the chance to see Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma inhabit Mauji and Mamta so effectively. They are believable and endearing, their transformations amazing. Mauji’s earnestness and simple-mindedness is reminiscent of Anil Kapoor in his early days (Saheb, Woh Saat Din), while Mamta is calm and dignified, and determined. She is no simpering damsel in the background with no agency, but goes even so far as to quietly correct her mother-in-law about what really makes her happy. Their journey together is lovely to watch, as they discover things about themselves and about each other. From never having really spoken to each other, they find strength and confidants.
All in all, really sweet.