Sunny Review – Rating: 3/5
The ongoing pandemic made us realise the importance of the relationships we have with individuals. The lockdown had a great impact on people’s mental health. The loneliness literally killed people. The 2021 Malayalam language film Sunny, too, tells us a similar story.
Sunny marks the 100th film appearance of Jayasurya as well as the 7th collaboration of Ranjith Sankar with Jayasurya. It is an experimental film with Jayasurya being the only prominent character throughout. The film also has an audio presence of Aju Varghese, Innocent, Mamta Mohandas, Shivada, Vijayraghavan, Siddique as well as Vijay Babu.
Sunny (Jayasurya) is a businessman, who travels back to Kerala from Dubai because of the ongoing Covid pandemic. But more so, because of professional issues. Once he lands in Kerala, he quarantines for 14 days in a hotel room, all alone. The loneliness and how he overcomes it while dealing with his professional and personal issues on the side forms the remaining part of the film.
An Average Script
The script doesn’t rely much on the dialogues but has several visual metaphors, which on decoding, reveal different layers of information. The first few minutes of Sunny is very slow and dragged, which makes the viewers a bit uncomfortable.
I have to admit; it has a good storyline, but I personally found the ending to be a bit abrupt and predictable. The nature of Ranjith Sankar’s movies with Jayasurya can be foreseen. It takes away the viewing experience because of the predictability of the ending. More than that, it felt like the movie ended in a jiffy. Sunny carried a lot of emotional baggage which felt real, but the tables turned unrealistic towards the end.
The screenplay of Sunny is neither too engaging and interesting, nor is it boring. It becomes a film that has a good idea at its core, but the writing lets it down. The movie is just 1 hour and 33 mins long which is ideal for a one-man show. However, the slow narrative doesn’t really hold the viewers’ attention. As such, it falls short in becoming a compelling watch.
The Relatable Factor – Loneliness
Sunny mainly deals with the theme of loneliness. A person when left on his own has several thoughts on his mind. These thoughts change him for the best or the worst.
Ranjith Sankar makes an attempt to show the uneasiness of an individual left alone with his thoughts. Sunny subtly deals with the theme of addiction too and the therapeutic manner to overcome it. At times, it becomes a bit preachy, especially during the scenes where the discussion of passion, failure in life and having a positive outlook on every problem in the world takes place.
The Metaphorical Direction
Being an experimental film, director Ranjith Sankar had a huge responsibility in helming Sunny. Creating a film with just one artist facing the camera throughout the runtime is not as easy as it may seem. The concept of Sunny is excellent, which gives the viewers a visually pleasing film. Certain shots and visuals in the movie had several layers of visual metaphors. The execution of such scenes was brilliantly done. Ranjith Sankar as a director has done a great job in Sunny.
The Jayasurya Touch
We all are privy to the talent and calibre of Jayasurya as an actor, and in Sunny, he once again proves the fact that he is an actor who can be trusted with any kind of role. Jayasurya’s portrayal of Sunny in this film was a sight to see. The depiction of uneasiness, irritation, frustration, grief and hope was simply beautiful to watch.
In his interview with Film Companion, Jayasurya mentioned that all of the dialogue delivery was done in a sing-song manner. None of the actors who gave their voiceover was present during his takes. From an actor’s point of view, it is a challenge to emote perfectly in such a situation. Jayasurya, however, held his ground and made sure that his emotions did not go astray.
Jayasurya was phenomenal as Sunny and this being his 100th cinematic appearance, he has definitely capitalised on the role given to him.
Cinematography by Madhu Neelakandan is what stands out the most. His beautiful visuals and great camera movement helped in capturing the emotions of Sunny brilliantly, along with the beauty of the view from Sunny’s room.
The music and background score by Sanker Sharma fits in perfectly with the narrative. Several scenes in the film are elevated to another level with the brilliant compositions. However, a point to note is that, as the movie progresses, Ranjith Sankar banks on several scores to amplify the emotions of the scenes when silence would have made all the difference. It would have emotionally exposed the vulnerability of the character better.
The slick editing by Shameer Muhammed also adds to the visual aesthetics of the film. As viewers, we are able to become fully immersed in the scenes.
As a whole, Sunny is a film that gave me a lot of expectations. After seeing the previous works of the Ranjith Sankar-Jayasurya combo, I felt that Sunny would be a magical experience. It did satisfy me because of the superb performance by Jayasurya and a commendable directorial effort by Ranjith Sankar. But, the writing and overall storyline fell through. It really isn’t a film that many would like because of its slow, dragged and abruptly written narrative.
That said, Sunny captures the real today. Since the pandemic, three Malayalam movies, including Sunny, have shown the new normal. The experience of watching it occur on-screen shows how the Malayalam movie industry is slowly adapting to new narratives brought forth by the pandemic.
Sunny is a film that has an excellent performance from Jayasurya and a compelling making by Ranjith Sankar, but the script and the storyline eventually serve as the downfall for an otherwise brilliant film.
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