Sweet Movie Review: Ahmed Kabir's Hospital Drama is Very Melodramatic
A still image from Sweet. Image from Youtube.A still image from Sweet. Image from Youtube.

Sweet | Director: Ahmed Kabir

Cast: Nikhila Vimal, Arjun Ashokan, Joju George

Language: മലയാളം | Rating: 2/5

****

A large portion of the sweets are set inside a general hospital, but show us a face of life unfamiliar. It tries to draw us to the outer walls of a hospital room where relatives of patients are housed in barren places, sharing TV, toilets, food and conversations. Sweet seeks to explore the struggles of the sick and their relatives. When patients are chained to hospital beds waiting to recover, no one stops to think about their loved ones who are equally tied to the routines of hospital life. Few people take it as their step by step and try to create strange lifelong relationships and find humor and love. Others struggle to express their grief, which affects their daily lives.

Director Ahmed Kabir, who made his film debut with Feel Good ‘June’, is not focusing on this category, but this time he seems to be in the mood to take himself seriously.

Food is a recurring theme in the narrative. It starts with a wet opening night shot at Sepia as Sabu pulls out a steel box biryani to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday. You have a young bride who develops the desire to cook through YouTube tutorials to please her mother-in-law. Then Sabu has to wash his blue shirts for his young friend and happily fry jellies on Chitra’s birthday. Rice and curries in steel tumblers and rice and curry extracted from banana leaves can be found in the canteen. When it is said that food does not add more to the big scheme than the love affair between Sabu and the Gujarati girl Chitra (this is a welcome deviation).

True, the hospital atmosphere is inherently dark, but the narrative tries to stay bright. Women who mourn the mega-serials, a young man who suddenly falls in love with a girl, and everyday fights to find a plug point for chargers, especially long conversations on the terrace about anything, are yours.

Sabu (Jojo George) is one of the most popular faces in the hospital – the kind that makes him happy wherever he goes. We constantly remember the picture of his wife who has been in the hospital for a long time. But that doesn’t seem to deter him from offering life lessons and a shoulder to cry on. Karthik (Arjun Ashokan) is for his mother and he cares for the world. But at home, his young wife Cherry (Nikhila Vimal) seems to be at the end of his indifference, cooking fresh sweets and trying hard to normalize the situation. Ravi (Indrans in his elements) seems to be in his 60s and is active and friendly again talking about their 40 years of magical love (he is for his wife).

Although the narrative is able to involve us for a while through dialogue and flashback, it tends to be monotonous. Even the love affair between Sabu and Chitra, the focal point of the narrative, comes across as very planned. He first sees her huddled behind a small restaurant and the biryani glistening. She comes there every day for biryani (nutritionists may take this movie to court over the unhealthy approval of biryani) and he can’t take his eyes off her.

On the one hand, one is really surprised at her high metabolism! One of the reasons why romance does not work may be the actors involved – while Shruti Ramachandran (albeit without thinking about her ugly roles in most of the films) with almond eyes and dim smiles is flawless, and those scenes do not get the desired result as Jojo is unnatural with romance. Even Karthik’s arc is not really convincing. They seem to have made things very comfortable for him.

Also, the melodrama is stretched with conscious close-up shots, so we are automatically torn as we train our cinematic vision around such images to be emotionally manipulated. Not because we invested in their misery. At the end of the day, in a country where there is no sweet ending — it’s not a happy feel-good narrative or a deep emotional drama.

Maybe, like the title, they should have kept it simple and sweet.

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