Sufiyum Sujatayum seems to have a strong belief in its storyline. A lover not being able to get over his/her past isn’t something particularly new. There have been countless films made within the exact structure, where the person is not satisfied with the way things went down. Still, the makers try to make this film with the same generic plot, where the protagonist is trying to find a gratifying end to her affair in the past.
In this case, it is Aditi Rao Hydari’s character, Sujata, who falls in love with a Sufi priest, played by Dev Mohan. Living in a small village from Kerala, Sujata swirls around everywhere in her neighborhood with childlike innocence. She is born mute but has the kind of personality where she can hop in any house and wouldn’t be treated in an unpleasant manner. The joy flashes on her face every moment and her effortless grace conveys the same. Grace is also a result of being a Kathak dancer, which is something that she uses as a means to communicate.
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Music is something that she finds getting enveloped with more often, which is what makes her fall for Sufi, a spiritual wanderer who stumbles upon in her village. The bearded long-haired priest sings with utmost devotion which leaves her mesmerized. She gets smitten by his voice and the personality alike whereas he finds her delicate beauty enchanting.
Yet, their love hardly goes beyond their mutual admiration as the religious divide makes it impossible for them to have anything more. She belongs to a Hindu family and he is a Muslim priest and the primary conflict arises right there. Even in a village that appears largely secular on the surface, inter-religious marriage is not something that the parents want to her fall into. So, her father rather marries her off to a well-to-do NRI from Dubai, and the narrative proceeds in the direction on her trying to get over her soulful past.
Apart from what I have already mentioned, there is very little that actually happens in the film. There is a sparse amount of situations and the resultantly thin plot makes it even harder for the film to keep someone engaged. Sufiyum Sujatayum tries it very hard, be it with the soulfulness with its music or the acting performances. Aditi manages to devote herself to the character and makes the doe-eyed Sujata’s silent agony seem more palatable. Besides her, the debutante Dev Mohan (as Sufi) makes his adorable interactions with Sujata seem worthwhile.
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But the skeleton falls off when there is nothing concrete to believe in the stakes of their ‘doomed’ romance. There is very little resistance within the film, which leaves their tragedy far off from being a tale of eternal romance. Even within its inter-religious aspects, it works out too smoothly to the point that the said ‘passion’ between these two lovers wears thin. Even if I try to believe in it as a film with a minimal storyline, the existing elements are only generic clichés where the melody is just not enough to fill in the gaps.
And for a husband trying to help his wife make amends with her ex-lover, Jayasurya’s performance feels largely unsure of what it wants to convey. While trying to present his anger or resentment, he engages in a single goofed-up expression, which confuses even more about his state of mind. With a film trying to singularly focus on the lover’s ennui throughout its duration, this might be the only way for it to unintentionally become clumsy. Sufiyum Sujatayum makes you believe that an unfulfilled desire is not a conflict worthy of stretching into a whole film. Especially not, when none of the elements are being presented with the required passion or attention.