Does love need words? Vijay Babu’s Sufiyum Sujathayum answers this question eloquently and minimally. I don’t watch a lot of Malayalam films because the many I have watched were commercial and blah (there are, of course, some exceptions). However, being the first Malayalam movie and second Indian movie to get an OTT release, I decided to give it a watch. Now, I just have one word to describe this Jayasurya flick: Minimalistic.
Sufiyum Sujathayum Overview
The Jayasurya and Aditi Rao Hydari starrer Sufiyum and Sujathayum is about three people stuck in a heart-rending love triangle that lasts for a decade. The official blurb follows:
Sujatha, a mute kathak dancer, falls in love with a Sufi artist. However, her father fixes her marriage with Rajeev, a well-to-do NRI. Ten years after her marriage, her husband brings her to her village.
Sufiyum Sujathayum Review: When Less is Indeed More
Dev Mohan and His Sufi
After having waited for two years, Dev Mohan’s debut movie is finally out, and we are glad his Sufi made it to us. The one year and a half the actor spent on preparing for the role is seen in his performance in the movie. From doing the Sufi dance flawlessly to having any amazing screen presence, Dev Mohan is wonderful to watch. However, probably the highlight of his performance is the subtlety in his acting, something uncommon in most debut actors. Moreover, his on-screen chemistry with Aditi Rao Hydari had me wish they get a happier ending. Sufi, my dear, I really wish she had chosen you.
If you have watched movies like Captain and Beautiful, you know the caliber of Jayasurya as an actor. Sufiyum Sujathayum has brought out acting brilliance with its script and great characterization. The pain of being in a loveless marriage, knowing well of his wife’s endless love for another man is obvious in each scene we see Jayasurya in the movie. What I loved about the character Rajeev is that despite the pain he felt, he wanted to release her pain. He wanted to give her closure, even at the cost of his pride. However, that does not excuse his behavior towards her.
I need to take a moment to appreciate Aditi Rao Hydari’s acting in this movie. Hers was probably the most difficult character: a mute kathak dancer in love. Having no dialogues in the movie meant Hydari had to bring her emotions and lines to her face, body language, and hands. It is needless to say just how brilliant of a work she has done in Sufiyum Sujathayum. There is a scene where Hydari shines with her extraordinary performance, showcasing the frustration, anger, and sorrow at her muteness. Speaking of Sujatha, I have very mixed feelings. A part of me feel sad at her situation, how she was forced to leave the love of her life at her doorstep. How she spent the next ten years regretting that moment and yearning for him. However, I can’t really find it within myself to be okay with the way she treated her husband.
M. Jayachandran’s Music
The musical love story portrayed in Sufiyum Sujathayum would not have the effect it did without M Jayachnadran’s soulful music. The music director had previously proven his mettle with hauntingly beautiful soundtracks from films like Perumazhakalam. As such, it is not surprising that the background score and two songs of the movie are brilliant and heart-touching.
Shining Supporting Characters
Most movies, regardless of the language, give minimal focus to the supporting characters. However, Sufiyum Sujathayum is an exception. Each of the supporting characters in the movie, including Siddique and Kalarenjini, who played the parents of Sujatha (Aditi Rao Hydari), has shone brilliantly with their performances.
The Craftsmanship of Subtlety
Sufiyum Sujathayum is not your typical unrequited love story of fake machoism and over-the-top villain-ism. Neither is it a movie where the “loving father” is quick to hit his darling daughter over her love for someone else. Instead, it is delicate craftsmanship of subtlety, a missing element in most commercial movies of our time.
There are no gallant confessions or challenges, no extra songs, and no action sequence. In its essence, the movie is of love that requires no words, sees no boundaries, and certainly no “love song.” Debut director and writer Naranipuzha Shanavas has shown a skill that even the most season filmmakers lack: minimalism.
Religion Pitted Against Love, Again
Despite the taking an elegant approach to love stories, I find it quite disappointing that love is once again pitted against religion. As is the case in most of the film in this genre, the latter wins or rather parental pressure wins. I would like more happy endings like Thattathin Marayathu or Om Shanti Oshana in films. However, we all know that in real life most love stories end like Sufi’s and Sujatha’s. At the end of the day, I just wish the father had just been brave enough.
Sufiyum Sujathayum is a must-watch if you like movies that have subtlety from its script to its acting. You will definitely enjoy this movie if you miss the good old days of writing letters and secret rendezvous with your lover.
Movies: After watching Sufiyum Sujathayum, if you want more of love and romance, your best pick is La La Land, a musical that conveys music, jazz, love, and passion. You can also hit up many rom-coms both Netflix and Prime Video have in abundance.
If you felt sad about how Sufi and Sujatha never ended up together, like me, and wish for a story with a happier ending, then Malayalam flick Thattathin Marayathu is just the fix you need.
Series: Enjoy love in all colors, genders, and situations with series like Love, Victor, Love, Simon, and Glee.
Books: Novels like The Fault in Our Stars, P.S. I Love You, Notebook, Me Before You, and If You Could See Me Now are right up your alley if you loved Sufiyum Sujathamyum as I did.