Sukhee aims high, does not quite hit goal

Chaitanya Choudhry, Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Maahi Jain in Sukhee. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Continuing my retro-journey into 2023’s films minus any TQ (Theatrical Quotient, probably more valuable today that the conventional quotients of Entertainment, Intelligence and Emotions), I decided to visit Sukhee, a film recommended by someone to me, which is now on OTT. Most such films end up on Netflix, and I wonder what’s the secret behind this fact!

Yes, the beginning of the film was quite fresh and amusing, as the story was located in the fictional town of Anandkot in Punjab and one got rather engrossing-if-seen-before satirical glimpses of how and what men and women think, especially about their spouses. But the actual story takes long to take off, and some emotional space is given to protagonist Sukhee (Shilpa Shetty Kundra)’s warm relationship with her grandfather-in-law (Vinod Nagpal), who is as much progressive as Sukhee’s husband and his grandson, Guru (Chaitanya Choudhry, a Dev Anand protégé from Love At Times Square in 2005!) is chauvinistic and stereotypical.

Sukhee has been invited to a college reunion in Delhi over the weekend, and back home, is unwittingly responsible twice for Guru missing out on a crucial contract. The only way she can now go to the reunion is when her grandfather-in-law assures her that he will handle his grandson.

Another factor is Sukhee’s daughter Jassi (Maahi Jain), who is a kind of all-rounder in school but has fixed ideas about what a mother should be. When the old man actually buys tickets to Delhi for Sukhee, all hell breaks loose in her household. Sukhee does not relent, heads to the capital and meets her old cronies, an ex-flame, Vikram (Amit Sadh) who owns a stud farm (Sukhee’s and Guru’s original dream) and multiple things happen. Oh yes, Sukhee has been estranged from her parents (Kiran Kumar and Purnima Rathod) too since she decided to marry the then-college sweetheart Guru and that adds to the mess in her life.

So where does life go, especially when Sukhee extends her sojourn in Delhi and hubby tells her that she need not come back at all, and Jassi too is furious enough with her “selfish” mother not to take up her calls? Sukhee’s partial if misplaced guilt at her domestic issues is not completely assuaged by her friends either.

Throughout the long-drawn-out (for its central idea and content) film that see-saws between comedy and sorrow, we get situations and lines that show generally the chauvinism and deep-seated male egos of conservative men and their silently suffering women. Even the nasty digs at Jassi in the local school by classmates are simply because they have come to know that her mom is off to seemingly just have a good time at the expense of the family. In a very unconvincingly hurried scene, a classmate of Jassi illuminates the girl about how mothers too have their own lives to lead.

And just when I thought that in 2023, a full four decades after Woh 7 Din and almost 25 years after Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and those two films’ conventional endings, there would be a progressive end (akin to the totally different love triangle of the 2019 De De Pyaar De), we get an oh-so-domestic culmination in which Sukhee is as good as bribed (watch the film to know how!) to go back to a man who does not really seem to have changed his beliefs, and if he has, certainly not for the right reasons!

Shilpa Shetty puts in a bright performance as Sukhee, and Amit Sadh is a sheer delight as her silent admirer. Maahi Jain is pitch-perfect as the brattish Jassi, and ditto Vinod Nagpal in the brief role of the sweet old man who knows Sukhee’s worth in his life and in that of his errant grandson. The rest of the cast is alright.

Musically a washout, the film has a few directorial highs like Sukhee’s last two sequences with Vikram and her intimate initial conversations with her grandfather-in-law, but Sonal Joshi’s directorial debut ends up finally as merely ho-hum. In the final analysis, this is just a tepid story on gender equality and a woman’s self-assertiveness.

Another promising idea…Another potential, if familiar, subject that could have hit hard with its message…Another film aiming high but falling very low vis-à-vis its ambitions…Sigh!

Abundantia Entertainment’s & T-Series Films’ Sukhee  Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Vikram Malhotra & Shikhaa Sharma  Directed by: Sonal Joshi Written by: Radhika Anand, Paulomi Dutta  & Rupinder Inderjit  Music: Badshah-Hiten & Arko  Starring: Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Amit Sadh, Chaitannya Choudhry, Maahi Jain, Kusha Kapila, Dilnaz Irani, Kiran Kumar, Dilnaz Irani, Pavleen Gujral, Vinod Nagpal, Purnima Rathod, Sandeep Kapoor, Jyoti Kapoor, Anjali Sharma & others






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