Sui Dhaaga is a feature that embodies an Indian dream of sorts. This dream is the triumph of skilled artisans/weavers who have lost their regular livelihood due to the economics of capitalism: namely, the demand for cheaper, machine-made textiles and fabrics. Though the principal plot follows the trials and tribulations of tailor/dreamer, Mauji (Varun Dhawan) and his ever-supportive wife, Mamta (Anushka Sharma), it is at once a tale of family, grave exploitation, and hard-won dignity.
All things considered, Sui Dhaaga is an endearing film that backs and champions the underdog despite the laundry list of obstacles and indignities. The script does have some minor flaws, but the exceedingly good moments tend to overshadow the more ordinary parts. The film has poignant moments such as Mamta looking distraught as her husband deliberately makes a fool of himself at the boss’ son’s wedding; Mauji being moved by his doting wife’s demands of self-respect, followed by the sudden urge to quit his demeaning job at the store; husband and wife at a camp, waiting their turn to take a test; the look on their faces as they realise that the clothing brand they work for has stolen their original design; and the elitist reaction of the competition judges.
Mauji lives with his wife and parents in an impoverished neighbourhood that has borne the brunt of development. Once a community of thriving artisans/weavers, the mohalla is now full of people without a regular source of work. They subsist on mostly menial, unskilled jobs to make ends meet. Mauji’s father (Raghubir Yadav) has recently retired, and draws a pension. Though a tailor of considerable skill, Mauji works in a shop that sells sewing machines, and is treated by the owners of the establishment in a feudal and classist manner. He is often slapped around and insulted by the boss’ son, and is made to behave like a circus creature for their benefit. Though he seems not to mind at first, the public humiliation witnessed by his wife at the boss’ son’s wedding, forces him to reassess his priorities. Egged on by a supportive Mamta, Mauji decides to borrow a sewing machine from a neighbour and start his own tailoring business. But his mother’s sudden ill health and the resultant hospital bills threaten to destroy the dream even before it takes shape.
Sui Dhaaga makes a strong case when it tackles the subject of exploitation; when those with power and access tend to be unjust towards skilled labourers who are at their mercy. The film tells you that it is not okay to put your dignity and self-respect up for sale. In spite of mediocre humour and the predictable conclusion, Sui Dhaaga is a story worth investing in for all the fine instances of pathos.