February 10, 2016

Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam – A Stammerer’s Review

Here's my review of the Malayalam movie "Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam", which is based on stammering.
Indian Cinema has traditionally seen stammerers (PWS) as comic characters. Lately, there were protagonists who stammered… But a Malayalam film - Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam comes as a fresh air, which revolves around a person who stammers and is probably the first Indian film that is primarily about stammering.

The film is a narration by the central character- Sudhi Vathmeekam (played by Jayasuriya… awesome!), somewhat in his early forties, who tells his life story to a Malayalam Super Star actor “Mukesh”- during a journey that just happens with co-incidences, best understood by watching the film. 

The story starts from Sudhi’s childhood, in his school, where he is having difficulty speaking out his name in class, is isolated by his fellow classmates and made fun of. Sudhi’s father tries to cheer him up, but then- it doesn’t stop him from buying a “cauliflower” instead of an “egg” because it’s easy to say!

As the story unfolds, it beautifully shows those horrifying experiences we stammerers have gone through- buying a ticket in the bus, not picking up the receiver of the ringing phone, trying various speaking techniques and stammering severely when talking to people of high authority… In between we are also introduced to a doctor who helps Sudhi, with some Chinese therapy called Shiatsu treatment.

Like most of the stammerers, marriage is a big worry for Sudhi. Life takes a new turn when Sudhi meets “Sheela”, a prospective match his parents have seen for him. Sudhi informs Sheela about his stammering right in the first meeting. His happiness knows no bounds when he realizes that Sheela and her family have consented for the marriage. And then we see our Sudhi in love… dreaming, smiling alone and humming tunes… Life is simply beautiful when he is in love. 

The engagement ceremony brings a twist. Sudhi’s nervousness leads to severe stammering, and Sheela begins to worry. She worries even more when Sudhi just points to the menu while ordering in a restaurant. It’s during this that Sheela takes him to a Speech Therapist (Kalyani). Sudhi is disappointed – because his fiancée wants him to see a Speech Therapist, and secondly because the therapist says that there is no cure for stammering. Sudhi is soon shattered when his fiancée tells him that she doesn’t want to go ahead with the marriage. 

Sudhi develops hatred towards the speech therapist. How Kalyani, the speech therapist comes back in Sudhi’s life, how she tries to help a rebellious Sudhi makes the second half of the movie. Will Kalyani be able to help Sudhi in his stammering recovery? How does he deal with the difficulties in life after a broken marriage and a speech impairment which he realizes is permanent? Will it break him down? How will he come out of this? Will he ever fall in love again? What happens to our Sudhi… a representation of a PWS like all of us? All these questions are best answered by watching the film.

The movie has various pros from a stammerer’s point of view:
  • It comes with a message that stammering is okay… and not something that you have to get rid of. 
  • It educates the non-stammers too, that stammering is neurological disorder, and that it’s the stuttering mindset that needs treatment.
  • The character of the speech therapist: If speech therapists in India were like Kalyani, I would have started believing in speech therapy again :) 

Finally, it gives a message that is relevant for everyone- We shouldn’t be dreaming of becoming Sachin Tendulkar or Amir Khan or Hrithik Roshan… we should dream to be ourselves. 

A big thank you to Ranjith Sankar, the Director of this movie, and his entire crew for giving us this beautiful movie. If you are a stammerer, it’s a must watch. If you aren’t… it’s a must must watch!


Vikas Ranga said...

Thanks to share, Harish. Our film industry gives very less such beautiful movies so it should be shared the most.
BTW you've narrated the teaser in a great way, we're excited to watch the movie.

sachin said...

Wow, Harish and Ranjith-
Wish I was President.. I would have invited you both to Rashtrapati bhawan for special screening and High Tea!
Creativity at its best!

Sudheendran said...

Thanks Harish for the beautiful review

Ranjith Sankar said...

Thanks harish. Hope u become president at the very earliest sachin:)

Ravi Kant Sharma said...

wow...hope that someday a REAL PWS plays such character..

Dhruv Gupta said...

TISA plans to purchase a DVD to distribute to every SHG. If you are an SHG leader for a city, please email me (dhruvg05@gmail.com) your full address. I will have it delivered to you.