Within Sonal Joshi’s ‘Sukhee,’ a group of mature gentlemen playfully comment on the abundance of women’s empowerment films, all appearing somewhat alike. Paradoxically, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the film itself falls short in advancing the cause of feminism, primarily because it lacks the innovative spark that the theme demands.
|Writer||Radhika Anand, Paulomi Dutta, Rupinder Inderjit|
|Starring||Shilpa Shetty, Kusha Kapila, Amit Sadh, Chaitannya Choudhry, Dilnaz Irani, Pavleen Gujral|
|What’s Good||A Shift in Focus, The Film’s Transformative Pivot|
|What’s Bad||Ghostly Intrusion, Sarcasm Stumble, Hindrances to a Serious Conversation in the First Half|
Sukhpreet ‘Sukhee‘ Kalra, a 38-year-old Punjabi housewife, is the main focus of a touching story that follows her as she flees her routine life for a school reunion in Delhi. Over the course of seven days, she returns to her 17-year-old self, transitioning from a wife and mother to her actual self.
Although Shilpa Shetty has a particular on-screen personality that has made her popular over the years, the first half of “Sukhee” suffers from her too conceited portrayal of her character. Her character wakes up with flawless makeup and finely groomed screws, which feels out of place for a homemaker in the little village of Anandkot. Although slightly successful, her attempt to convey Sukhee’s vulnerability lacks authenticity.
On the other hand, Chaitannya Choudhry excels in his well-written part as a man-child who holds his wife responsible for everything. His portrayal of the character feels real and approachable, which brings the role to life.
Kusha Kapila portrays her social media character with ease, whereas Dilnaz Irani and Pavleen Gujral, regrettably, are treated as merely ticks along Sukhee’s trip, with their issues being briefly referenced but not fully explored. Unexpectedly, Amit Sadh excels in the role and gives the character appeal.
Celebrating the long-overlooked realities of female living in film is essential. The movie “Sukhee” makes an effort to explore the life of a housewife who defies social conventions at a time when filmmakers are beginning to address similar issues. The movie falls short, though, as it lacks substance and only touches on a few key subjects. The character’s slights and repressed impulses are ineffectively shown in the first half because it is too preoccupied with everyday issues. It sacrifices nuance for intensity by attempting to say too much in a brief amount of time. When the second half explores the subtleties, it becomes better, but finally opts for a predictable conclusion. “Sukhee” had the potential to be a deeper exploration, yet it falls short.
Direction & Music
Sonal Joshi’s skill as a director reveals a great awareness of the elements of this universe that must be captured to make an impression. Over-sanitization is a problem, though. For example, the restroom at the neighborhood bus stop seems unusually clean. She also incorporates Easter Eggs, like casting Kiran Kumar as Sukhee’s father, who is still angry with her for eloping (a nod to “Dhadkan”), but they are unoriginal and add to the film’s tokenism, which makes it less successful. Unfortunately, T-series has taken another of Ali Sethi’s interpretations and produced a substandard version of it, making the music subpar. ‘Chan Kitha’ falls short of expectations despite the presence of Ayushmann Khurrana.
A great movie, with a second half that excels over the slightly less interesting first half. It successfully highlights the weaknesses that people, regardless of gender, are born with, dispelling stereotypes about gender roles. Sadly, some viewers might not fully appreciate or find inspiration in this film, considering it as purely feminist or being primarily about women’s liberation. Shilpa Shetty gives an exceptional and unique performance as Sukhee. ‘Sukhee’ is a must watch and comes highly recommended, worthy of multiple viewings.