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The Threads Of Life

Saturday, September 29, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Sui Dhaaga
Sharat Katariya
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Raghubir Yadav, Namit Das and others
Rating: * * *

Yash Raj Films which took Bollywood to exotic foreign locations,  now backing the film equivalent of slum tourism is a welcome sign. Mainstream Hindi films are getting to be realistic and caring about how the other half lives. Stars like Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma are confident about shedding their glamour, doing roles that test their talent, and pulling off the ordinary with elan.

So what's not to like about Sharat Katariya's 'Sui Dhaaga'? Only that it is too long and painfully earnest. Set on the outskirts of Delhi, in an ugly basti with narrow lanes, ramshackle houses and criss-crossing cables, the film is about Mauji (Varun Dhawan), who, like his name, is a happy-go-lucky chap, from a family of weavers who have had to give up their failing trade and move to the city to do menial jobs. His father (Raghubir Yadav) has retired as a peon, and hopes his older son with his low-level job will look after the family; the younger son has left to set up home with his well-off wife. When Mauji's silent, dutiful wife Mamta (Anushka Sharma) sees him being humiliated by his boss, she goads him into quitting the job and using his tailoring skills to do something on his own.

This premise was enough for a story of struggle and survival, but Katariya must up the obstacles; so the mother Yamini Das – quite a find) has a heart-attack and the medical bills are back-breaking; the quest for a sewing machine needs an obstacle race of its own; a supposed benefactor (Namit Das) turns out to be a crook. As each hurdle is elongated and exacerbated, the need for some brutal trimming is felt. More so, because the film moves towards an expected feel-good ending.

If Mauji (and 'mohalla') had not challenged the snooty fashion establishment, but just become Delhi's 'maxi' king, the film would have been satisfying enough. But then, there is the mistaken belief that in a Bollywood film, it is not enough to just make the underdog win, he must also become a superhero.

Both Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma give wonderfully unshowy performances and are propped by a perfect supporting cast.

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