Perhaps the greatest of literature and art created on love are created on unrequited/forbidden love. There is an intoxicating quality about separation in unrequited love that is a comfortably recurring theme in literature because there’s so much to say yet so little that gets said. And there is beauty in this misery, humanity in pain and infinite love in separation. A writer’s/director’s paradise indeed.
Sufiyum Sujathayum is one such tale of forbidden love hurdled by religion. Sufi and Sujatha, two beautiful souls that end up finding each other and connecting on levels deemed unacceptable by the world they live in are inevitably separated after what is a heartwarming sequence of hidden love. Their love is natural and effortlessly beautiful. But the movie is more about how far the madly attached Sujatha and her frustrated husband go for closure from what was an all consuming love story from her past. The closure they seek lies literally beneath a grave, a grave beneath which Sufi lies.
The movie begins as Sufi returns to the village after ten years of separation only to breathe his last in a final, peaceful prayer. As the village puts him to rest, in death he triggers a series of events that draws Sujatha and her husband from abroad in search of a vague sense of closure. They don’t find it at first, but towards the end they do and how. The extremities of love and longing, and even attachment in separation are what this movie explores and to a great extent, delivers. The love between Sufi and Sujatha is pure, desirable and gets us rooting for the two. She connects to not just him as a being but his religious identity as if she was meant to belong with him in every way. But as she slowly begins to morph into a soulmate that Sufi could cherish in all ways, their love story is cut short by discovery and is followed by generic drama of religious differences. We do not know what happens of Sufi after, but for Sujatha there is no letting go. She holds on until she gets a chance to return to him a rosary that he had wished to take to his grave; right back to his grave.
The husband of Sujatha, Rajeev, plays an interesting role throughout the story and is perhaps the only unconventional addition. He’s never been acquainted with Sufi, but he lives for ten years with a love story that evidently threatens to consume him and his child because his wife cannot let go. And yet, he understands, even in anger. He takes her all the way back to her village just so she can witness the love of her life being buried so she’d move on. That doesn’t happen, but somehow he ends up with a good climax and his character is given full justice.
I wouldn’t call it a great story; but it’s a wonderful visual, emotional and musical journey. Everything about the making makes the movie a completely worthwhile watch. Aditi Rao Hydari as Sujatha steals most of the limelight with her pure and graceful role that justifies everything she ends up doing along the story. And Sufi? He’s someone everyone would fall in love with because he’s that rare embodiment of spiritual connect that reflects in his physical being. It’s a love story that leaves us craving for such consumption in life. It’s the kind of separation that has inspired eons of literary genius. And it’s a story of closure unlike any I’ve seen before. Sufiyum Sujathayum is a movie you could actually watch multiple times for the emotional purity of it.