New Delhi, 16 Feb 2020 8:30 IST
Despite a lumbering pace, Jagdeep Sidhu's latest film offers an inclusive message along with a unique exploration of what love means.
Written and directed by Jagdeep Sidhu, Sufna is a romantic drama produced by Panj Paani Films and starring Ammy Virk and Tania. Tania plays a young woman whose mother has passed away and who is awaiting the return of her father, who was in the Indian army and went missing. As a child, she yearned for her mother’s love and keeps alive the hope that she will greet her father who will one day return from the front.
As she grows up, the character holds dear the lessons of love and respect that her father taught her. As a poor labourer picking cotton in the fields at the time of harvest, she meets Jeet (Virk), who is just frittering away time with his friends. Jeet falls in love with her but must win her heart with a more evolved idea of love based on companionship and selflessness.
On the face of it, Sufna is a run-of-the-mill, boy-meets-girl-and-they-fall-in-love kind of story, but the real charm of the film lies in the details as it rejects the transactional, fleeting idea of love in favour of one based on respect, that involves sacrifice and brooks no expectations. This is quite unique in an era when love is mostly ‘timepass’ and often selfish.
The larger message of the film is one of inclusivity where it is clearly responding to the current milieu in the country. The young woman is half-Muslim and expects some sort of exclamatory comments from her lover on revealing this, but, instead, in a heartwarming scene, Jeet talks about his village that respects the masjid that the Muslims left behind when they moved out during Partition.
However, the narrative moves at a glacial pace and the first half, in particular, is excruciatingly slow with the protracted courtship. The other sore point, surprisingly, is Virk’s acting. He has been relatively fine in his earlier roles but remains rather expressionless here even as his life goes topsy-turvy. Tania, by comparison, is far better, along with an excellent supporting cast.
The songs of the film with lyrics by Jaani and music by B Praak are a high point with a range of melodies from the soulful ‘Ammi’ to the stunningly shot ‘Jannat’ and ‘Jaan Deyan Ge’ amidst the cotton fields, and the Sufi-inspired ‘Qubool A’.
What stands out in the film is the cinematography by Vineet Malhotra that brings alive the lives of labourers in the cotton belt of Punjab, introducing us to a land that is more textured than the sarson ke khet (mustard fields) would have us believe. The art director and colorist deserve a mention as well for creating the perfect background to the unfolding of the love story.
The pace notwithstanding, through its inclusive and distinctive spirit, Sufna refreshingly offers a mature notion of love that blossoms far away from the cacophony of the city.
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