In the past few years, Yash Raj Films, traditionally known for producing romantic films that often featured chiffon saree- clad heroines dancing in the snow, has shifted its focus to telling more realistic stories, and its latest release, Sui Dhaaga (Needle and Thread) is a good example of that.
This film also features a saree-clad heroine, but not one who is running around trees or dancing, but a strong-willed and smart woman who is an equal partner to her husband – she guides and supports him, and isn’t scared to call him out when he is wrong.
Sui Dhaaga tells the story of Mauji (Varun Dhawan) a small-time office boy from a poor family, whose mother is often sickly and father is retiring. He is married to Mamta (Anushka Sharma), but their family set-up is not ideal for them to develop any real relationship. After a series of events where Mauji’s employer humiliates him, his wife nudges him to set up a tailoring business, since he has the required skills, but is forbidden by his strict father (Raghubir Yadav) to do so.
There is nothing extraordinary about the story. You know everything will work out in the end, but Sharat Katariya makes the journey interesting. The director tackles troubled family dynamics, corruption and red tapism that is rife in India, and makes a case for local artisans, who are often taken for a ride by bigger fashion designers, or are lost in the fabric of society and are forced to take up menial jobs to make ends meet.
The casting of this film (by Shanoo Sharma) is absolutely on point. Dhawan charms in his portrayal of Mauji – a young man struggling to help his family financially while keeping his dream alive. The actor has a track record of excelling in high-emotion films (October, Badlapur), without going over the top. It is hard to imagine anyone else play Mamta as earnestly as Sharma.
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At no point does it feel like she is playing a role, and is essentially the hero of the film – encouraging her husband, keeping the family together and working – all while keeping everyone fed and making endless cups of tea. Seasoned actor Raghubir Yadav in the role of the frustrated, disappointed, angry and penny-pinching father absolutely shines – and features in some of the best scenes in the film.
Unfortunately, though, Dhawan has more chemistry with Yadav than he does with Sharma, and their relationship feels more like they are siblings than a couple. There are also certain parts of Sui Dhaaga that feel overdramatised and a little detached from reality, but it isn’t a dealbreaker.
Some may argue the film is too simple, but that’s what makes it beautiful. Heart-warming and sweet, you can forgive Sui Dhaaga for weaving in a little extra drama in its fabric.