An alternate title for the T-Series film, Sukhee, could have been ‘How Sukhee Got Her Groove Back’. The Hindi film, directed by Sonal Joshi, stars Shilpa Shetty as the title character who takes a break from her daily life and attends her 20-year school reunion. The family drama focuses on Sukhee reclaiming her happiness as she learns to put herself first after all these years.
The story of Sukhee is nothing new. We’ve seen narratives like before in films like English Vinglish and Tumhari Sulu, wherein the ordinary housewife goes ahead to do something for herself and her previously selfish family realises her worth after all. However, there is an added element of solid friendships and sisterhood here where Sukhee has a support group to help her make some important decisions.
Sukhee uses both comedy and clichés to make its points on marriage, motherhood and the demands on Indian women to be it all. As the film begins, Sukhee suffers silently being there for everyone but herself. As the flashback to her teenage self shows a confident, carefree young woman, her past self would be shocked at what her future has become. The film allows Sukhee to have some growth about what she deserves. Not only that, but the film also allows other characters to have self-awareness over time, allowing for more realistic solutions to familial tensions.
The film is a complete vehicle for Shilpa Shetty and she is both winsome and moving while having a mini crisis about the state of her life. Before she goes to meet her friends after decades, she happens to glance at her reflection in the mirror and is dismayed to see how ordinary she has become. Her little rebellions across the feature allow her to reclaim old parts of herself.
The camaraderie between her and Kusha Kapila, Pavleen Gujral and Dilnaz Irani yields some very funny moments in the film as they try to recapture their youth. For instance, when they stride into the reunion and wonder who all the boring uncles and aunties around them are. There’s also a tamer recreation of the bathroom scene from Bridesmaids that draws laughs.
Amit Sadh has a special appearance as a former admirer of Sukhee’s from school who also attends the reunion. He also fits in perfectly with the old gang as they reconnect after all these years. Chaitannya Choudhry and Maahi Jain as Sukhee's husband Guru and daughter Jassi are the typical uncaring family members who learn their lesson after her departure.
The story by Radhika Anand and screenplay by Paulomi Dutta have some teachable moments even as they line up some commonplace scenarios like nosy neighbours intruding on family life and Guru taunting Sukhee that she doesn’t really do anything at home. The film’s best scenes are focused on Shilpa Shetty as Sukhee regaining her old confidence and mending old wounds. Director Sonal Joshi has made a fine debut for her feature directorial film.
What doesn’t work is the clumsy college flashback scenes where Shilpa Shetty has been obviously de-aged and not well. Another strange sequence finds Sukhee taking the reins as a jockey in a professional race. These filler scenes could have been avoided.
At the end, Sukhee works as a woman empowerment story that teasingly mocks itself in the film. Sticking to stereotypes and elevating them in a way, Sukhee allows its characters to err, learn, forgive, and move on. The film’s story might just end resonating with several who may have felt the same in their lives. Sukhee is a fun family drama that will both surprise and entertain you.
All said and done, if you are looking for an easy weekend watch, you will have your moments with the movie and not all of them might turn out to be pleasant. However, it definitely calls for a watch since it has managed to come bearing this relatability factor that strikes a chord.