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Digital Review: ‘Sutliyan’ (ZEE5)

ZEE5’s latest release ‘Sutliyan’ is about family bonds. It is a story about a modern family in a small town, finding the balance between their individualistic pursuits and their life as a part of the family collective. This feels like a complex concept in writing, but ‘Sutliyan’ makes it simple and easy.

Three siblings – Rajan (Shiv Panditt), Ramni (Plabita Borthakur) and Raman (Vivaan Shah) – reunite with their mother Supriya (Ayesha Raza Mishra) after a year and half of living separate lives during the pandemic. A lot has changed in the home they grew up. Their father passed away due to covid, and none of them showed up for his funeral. So now, seeing the way their mother has adapted to her new life is strange to them. She has a support system, a new business called “Sutliyan”, and a new sense of self. Among the familiarity of their hometown, the three of them realize how much they have changed as well. Rajan – the oldest, brightest son – is struggling under weight of financial debt and the shame of failure. Ramni has a secret personal life she can’t dare share with the people who have known her all her life. And Raman is still struggling to find his purpose in life. Despite the distance, guilt and qualms, they eventually learn that family ties don’t break as easily as they thought.

‘Sutliyan’ as a concept isn’t groundbreaking. It is a warm, comforting family drama without any crazy twists and turns. The actors are in a familiar space, playing characters we have more or less seen them play before. But in a clutter of dark thrillers, action-packed gangster and cop dramas, the comfort feels like a breath of fresh air. Stories like ‘Sutliyan’ have slipped between the cracks as the gap between TV and OTT grows, and it is nice to see that filmmakers are still finding ways to share them with us.

The few technical missteps (like editing, hair and makeup, narrative) are easily to look past because the team has managed to authentically present the heart of the story written Sudeep Nigam and Abhishek Chatterjee. They have successfully managed to convey the complexity and intimacy of the family dynamic. Each member of the cast, each character, brings a different perspective to the collective, without losing the synergy of a family. Ayesha Raza Mishra manages to maintain the authenticity of Supriya while emulating a universal energy that we see in our own mothers. Panditt, Bhorthakur, and Shah have the love-hate dynamic of siblings, which is written so true to life. They bicker, they fight, but they always have each other’s back. A special mention goes to Niharika Lyra Dutt as Dipanita as well, who has such a genuine screen presence.

‘Sutliyan’ is eight episodes of finding charm in what feels familiar. Sometimes as viewers, we don’t want to be on the edge of our seats. Sometimes we want to sit back and revel in the comfort of relatability. ‘Sutliyan’ is
perfect for that.

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