Sulemani Keeda (English, Hindi) - Review

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?) - But do watch it!
quick review:

A breezy little gem about a pair of struggling writers who hope the become the next Salim-Javed, Sulemani Keeda, directed by Amit Masurkar, is sure to make you smile. Beautifully acted, with some crackling lines, it's the kind of bug you won't mind being bitten by.

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Wogma Review

There's a breed among us, (numbering at least a few thousands, but who can ever know?) for whom Sulemani Keeda will resonate more than it will with anyone else - those aspiring writers in Mumbai, who dream of having their words traverse the journey from paper to celluloid (or, you know, DCP files, as is the case today).

It is a tough life, that of an aspiring film-maker in Bombay, or anywhere in the world. The struggle of someone who wants to be behind the camera is surpassed only by that of one who wishes to make his name in front of it. This struggle has its share of humour as well, but that's mostly because writers are a lot who don't mind looking at the funnier side of life, even when looking at it soaring above one's head from the bottom of a pit.

Amit Masurkar's film, about the lives of a screenwriter pair who dream of cracking that one script that will turn their fortunes around, is a film laced with humour, insight and a level of honesty that's hard to find. Despite the fact that certain people are bound to identify with the film more than the others, it is also a film that will connect with anyone; because every story, even one about writers, has its basis somewhere in real life.

In fact, the film is quite like that popular meme which visually lists out situations like how the world sees you, how your parents see you, how you see yourself and how you actually are. It is a tiny little slice out of the journey between where one is, and where one wants to be. The journey may be fraught with disappointment and failure, but we're still at it.

Our 'heroes', (though they're anything but,) are named Mainak and Dulal. Yes, they're writing a film for a big Khan. The only hitch is that they're yet to meet him. It is the little touches like these that lend a sense of comic irony to the film.

Mainak is street smart and is more likely to write the kind of lines one hears in a Dabangg. Dulal, on the other hand, is an idealist, a poet, a nomad at heart. When he falls in love, he goes the whole hog. And when his heart breaks - well, I'd leave it to you to figure out what happens when a writer's heart breaks.

What is most heart-warming about Sulemani Keeda is the fact that without being emphatic and jingoistic about it, it subtly subverts so many clichés that we've come to expect from a romantic comedy. The process of meeting, attraction, realizing the presence of an emotional and intellectual connect - all of it seems so much more genuine. (A big reason for this is the cast, but I'll get to that in a bit.)

Even the done-to-death airport climax is dumped in favour of a sequence that's most likely how it'll be, if it were to happen in real life. Kudos, also, to the film-makers for the character of Ruma, the kind of woman you're more likely to run into in middle class Bombay than any other woman you've seen on screen.

Mayank Tewari and Naveen Kasturia, who play Mainak and Dulal respectively, perform like there's no camera, as though they are Mainak and Dulal. Cinematic characters usually spend more relative time worrying about morality than real people. Director Masurkar gets it bang on, the way he treats these characters and their moral dilemmas. Mainak comes across as a likeable creep, and Dulal as the bumbling romantic. They're real people, these two, even if they're probably an amalgam of a bunch of them. Aditi Vasudeo, who plays Ruma, is an absolute natural.

Admittedly, the film doesn't age as well as one would have hoped. I first watched this film over a year ago at the Mumbai Film Festival, and it seemed so much less like a low budget indie back then. In fact, it is apparent just how much of 'jugaad' - getting things done by hook or by crook - has gone into this film. Yet, that's also the beauty of it. In it's message as well as in the manner in which it was made, it is a film that inspires you to undertake the journey you seek. For only then will you have been a story.

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None.
  • Language: Sexually explicit dialogue at times.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None, apart from some of the dialogue.
  • Concept: Two struggling screenwriters trying to make it big in Mumbai.
  • General Look and Feel: Quintessential indie feel, with the lived-in, real look.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 3.5
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 2.5
  • Music Director: 2.5
  • Lyrics: 3

Sulemani Keeda - Movie Details

Sulemani Keeda - Trailer

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Comments (1)

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Suman Chakraborty:

Direction: 3
Story: 2.5
Lead Actors: 3.5
Character Artists: 3
Dialogues: 3.5
Screenplay: 3
Music Director: 1
Lyrics: 1

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