Sulaikha Manzil Malayalam Movie
Ashraf Hamza's "Sulaikha Manzil" explores the anxiety and confusion that a young man and woman face after agreeing to an arranged marriage. It is like their manzil (destination) is unclear for the couple. Sulaikha Manzil begins with a music video that is shot like a Malabar album about a young couple and their family who oppose their relationship. The young man dies in a spoof version of the badly shot music album. Since then, Anarkali Marikar's Haala has not been on good terms with her brother Sameer (Chemban Vinod Jose). After disagreeing with many marriage proposals from her brother, Haala finally agrees to one with Ameen Kasim (Lukman Avaran).
But she does not seem too excited about the event for some reason, making the guy wonder whether she truly likes him or agreed to the marriage due to family pressure. Sulaikha Manzil discusses an issue that is very common in an arranged marriage situation. In our society, unfortunately, families do not try to understand what their daughters want. They just assume that their daughters are happy with the grooms that they bring them.
When it comes to a Muslim marriage function, some of the conventions make it virtually impossible for the prospective groom and bride to even meet before their marriage. This makes it even more difficult for the couple to truly understand each other and make a sound decision. The movie captures this complex situation for the couple beautifully.
Hamza's writing does not have any substantial conflicts to sustain our interest throughout, but he writes engaging scenes and draws outstanding performances from some of the actors. There is a lovely scene where Ameen tells Haala that he does not even know whether she prefers black coffee or black tea in the morning. It is a nice role reversal of sorts because it is the man who says such a line here, unlike a woman in almost every movie.
The film also has the familiar feel of a big-fat-wedding Indian movie, but Hamza does just enough to reduce the element of predictability. Vishnu Vijay's music plays a big role in bringing that festive feel to the movie. Fortunately, Hamza's actors rise above the familiarity of the script to elevate the film considerably.
Chemban Vinod Jose is really convincing as a Muslim man burdened with the responsibility of looking after the family at a young age. He has such a true Malabar accent. Lukman and Anarkali make their awkward chemistry work and are really good in their individual scenes as well. I do not know how many young actors ooze as much confidence as Ganapathi does in Malayalam cinema. The actor steals every moment he is in and just stands out, even in a small role. Shabareesh Varma, Jolly Chirayath, and Mamukkoya have one or two standout moments. Oddly enough, Shubha Sreedharan's Sulaikha does not have much to do even in the movie named after her character.