In the beginning of director Sharat Kataria’s Sui Dhaga, a small-towner Mauji (played by Varun Dhawan) is shown being subservient to the whims and fancies of his boss, who runs a store that sells sewing machines. He entertains them by mimicking animals and obeys his masters like a ‘doggy’. Though ashamed, nobody in his family feels it is below their dignity, except Mauji’s docile wife, Mamta (played by Anushka Sharma). She does not ask him to quit but makes him realize the importance of dignity and self-esteem. She does not advise him, rather acts as a trigger throughout the movie that helps pave Mauji his entrepreneurial path. Truly, behind every successful man, there is a woman!
Sharat Kataria, as the writer, creates a beautiful world of the small-towners who dream big. Set against the backdrop of the failing indigenous textile industry with the rapidly increasing ‘readymade’ clothes, Sharat Kataria creates an empowering story, that falters in the middle, but thankfully manages to stand on its feet towards the end. Much like his previous National Award winning, Dum Laga ke Haisha, the story here is set in a small town, the characters are real, and the emotions are subtle. An animated, aggressive, yet naïve Mauji quits his mundane job and sets out to make a living out of his family profession – Tailoring. Supported by a submissive yet doting wife, Mamta, he sets out on a journey against all odds to make it big. This is where the film becomes a little repetitive. The hardships are real but seem a bit overdrawn. In Dum Laga Ke Haisha when the narrative seems to get stagnant, Sharat kataria cleverly used humor and his vibrant characters to reduce the monotony. This is where Sui Dhaga weakens. The story and the dialogues are not stitched to perfection and it is reflected in the pace as well. But, thankfully, these aberrations are overcome soon enough by a good rise in the tempo towards the second half.
Playing a short-tempered, with innocence of every small towner, Varun Dhawan shines as Mauji. After October, this is another character with no pretense or larger-than-life image. From his banter with his father, played superbly by Raghubir Yadav, to his awkward equation with his wife Mamta, he plays the part with conviction. After playing firebrand and tomboys in all her movies, Anushka Sharma is great as the quiet and obedient Mamta, being the strong support and sensible thinker in their partnership. Through their journey of starting a label of their own, Mamta and Mauji discover each other as well, as they were married to the household before, and not to each other. But this is not a love story, it is a story of how a couple shows their love by being each other’s support. They are supported by a good cast, but none of them except Raghubir Yadav and Yamini Das as Mauji’s parents, stand out.
Through a world of deceit and exploiting the simpletons of our heartland, the narrative weaves an empowering and inspiring tale in the end. It is heart-warming to see a couple from the hinterland make their dreams come true, despite a few contrived subplots. We also get to see the talent that exists in our country and the makers seem to inspire many such Maujis and Mamtas to pave their path. Also, I felt the designs that Mauji and Mamta make in the movie seem straight out of a designer’s boutique in Juhu and not something an Indian artisan would make. But, since we are already connected to the duo and their dreams, it is easy to completely overlook it and feel happy for them. Despite the manufactured and forced problems in the middle, I came out of the theatre with a smile on my face and a great aftertaste!
With a run time of a little over two hours, Sui Dhaga is a breezy, comfortable watch. The endearing story with a warm and slow pace, along with the charming leads make you root for them.
My Rating – 3/5