Sunny Malayalam Movie Review

Feature Film | U | Drama | 1h 33min
Ranjith Sankar's Sunny on Amazon Prime is about a man who gradually self-heals and gets back to the rails of a life he has long deviated from. Shankar uses a one-character/one-actor situation to tell a fairly complex story skillfully.
Sep 23, 2021 By Sreejith Mullappilly

Ranjith Sankar's Sunny is about a man who shuts himself away in a coronavirus pandemic world. The film begins with the scene of Sunny coming home to a mandatory quarantine from the Middle East. Sunny burns his passport when on his way home in a hired car. Then, you wonder what's eating away at Sunny. Shankar puts the character in a five-star luxury hotel to explore the deep state of sadness in this man. The film revolves almost entirely around the character. It is not like he locks himself inside a flat accidentally, as Rajkummar Rao's character Shaurya does in Vikramaditya Motwane's 'Trapped'. His state of isolation is a deliberate act rather than a case of following an enforced rule.

The film then shows the events in Sunny's life that made him live this way in quarantine. It does not show those events as flashbacks or in separate scenes. Instead, we get to know his story through conversations between him and the other characters in the film. Most of the characters here are voiced performances. Sunny calls one of them, a police officer, voiced by Vijayaraghavan, to ask for a way to get a bottle of booze. It is hilarious. The cop first admonishes Sunny for his offhand request, but he does it with a great sense of understanding.

There is another terrific scene where we see something about to happen inadvertently and then a character reacting maturely to it. I imagined myself in that situation and thought about how I would have responded to it. Perhaps, my response would have been more apprehensive than that character's reaction.

It is amazing how a story could be told in confined spaces with very few lines and one character making up the screen. Of course, Hitchcock showed us in Rear Window that a gripping mystery could be told through virtually the prisms of a binocular.

Sunny is not a gripping survival story or the unraveling of a Hitchcockian murder mystery, though. It is about a man who slowly heals himself and gradually gets back to the rails of a life he has long deviated from. As said, Shankar uses a one-character/one-actor situation to tell a fairly complex story skillfully. There are challenges that come with this form of storytelling here. But the writer-director uses the setting, with its paraphernalia and everything, moving scenarios and engaging conversations to create an interesting world within a world. Some of the events here are a tad simplistic, but that is OK I guess.

I am still amazed by the ever-charming and charismatic Jayasurya. The actor portrays the character with sadness but with his sense of identity very much intact. Sunny says that he is not depressed; I believe him mainly thanks to the conviction of Jayasurya in the role. A depressed person would usually have low self-esteem or be self-loathing. Sunny is borderline crazy and an alcohol addict, but he also does many things differently from how most depressed people would. Not all good people would hate themselves when depressed. Jayasurya plays the character as if he knows exactly what he is doing.

Sreejith Mullappilly