‘Sulaikha Manzil’ movie review: This Ashraf Hamza-directorial entertains only in parts

In spite of creating a festive mood with an ensemble cast and music, the film, written and directed by Ashraf Hamza, fails to connect with the audience

Updated - April 22, 2023 10:06 pm IST

Published - April 22, 2023 01:49 pm IST

A still from ‘Sulaikha Manzil’

A still from ‘Sulaikha Manzil’

The name, Ashraf Hamza, was enough to raise expectations forSulaikha Manzil. A wholesome treat was anticipated from the director who made a dream debut with Thamasha and followed it up with another hit, Bheemante Vazhi. But Sulaikha Manzil entertains only in parts.

The narrative is set against a Muslim wedding in Malabar. Haala Parveen (Anarkali Marikar), who has three brothers, stays in Sulaikha Manzil. After a heartbreak years ago, she is all set to have an arranged marriage with Ameen Kasim (Lukman Avaran). The alliance has been arranged by Sameer (Chemban Vinod Jose), Haala’s eldest brother, with whom she has a strained relationship. Since the wedding was fixed over two weeks, Ameen feels that he and Haala should get to know each other better before marriage. But Haala is not much enthused about it, which disappoints Ameen. When his attempts did not succeed, misunderstandings arise and the wedding is on the verge of getting cancelled.

The premise had enough scope to be turned into an interesting narrative. Although the director, who has also written the story, takes up a relatable topic, the result, unfortunately, is a movie with not enough situations to keep the audience engaged.

Sulaikha Manzil (Malayalam)
Director: Ashraf Hamza
Cast: Lukman Avaran, Anarkali Marikar, Chemban Vinod Jose, Mamukkoya, Shabareesh Varma
Duration: 120 minutes
Storyline: Ameen and Haala’s marriage is arranged in a hurry. As Ameen tries to know Haala better before the wedding, she does not consider it important and this leads to a misunderstanding between the couple

Even though a lot of characters come in and go, which is expected of any movie about a big fat wedding, the film falters in terms of excitement, especially in the first half that is set in a slow pace. The humour does not work in certain scenes as the jokes do not land, perhaps because of the dialect. One of the drawbacks is that the script hurries through some of the scenes without exploring the emotions of the characters.

What saves the film to some extent is the performance of the actors and the mood that the director creates with music and dance. It is another fine performance from Lukman after Saudi Vellakka, as he portrays the excitement, insecurities and anger of Ameen. Anarkali is spot on as Haala when she expresses her predicament with her body language, dialogue delivery and mannerisms, instead of going for melodrama.

A poster of ‘Sulaikha Manzil’

A poster of ‘Sulaikha Manzil’

Chemban Vinod, also a co-producer of the movie, gives so much depth to the stern but warm Sameer; so does Amalda Liz as his wife, Bathul. The supporting actors lift the mood of the movie, especially actors such as Shabareesh Varma, Archana Padmini, Deepa Thomas, Mamukkoya, Ganapathi and Adhri Joe. Composer Vishnu Vijay, after his experimental but hugely successful Thallumala, repeats the magic with the viral tracks, ‘Jil jil’ and ‘Haalaake’.

The film has some emotional moments towards the climax, which might leave you misty-eyed. It might even work as a festival entertainer, thanks to the peppy dance numbers. Ashraf should also be given credit for having several female characters in the movie who speak their mind, instead of ending up as props. Also, there are no villains, fights and bloodshed, unlike Thallumala, which he co-wrote.

But, overall, there isn’t a lot to get enthused about the film other than the performances and the feel-good moments thrown in here and there. The movie does not stay with you in spite of the seriousness of the topic that it handles.

Sulaikha Manzil is currently running in theatres.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.