Starring: Ayesha Raza, Plabita Borthakur, Vivaan Shah, Shiv Panditt, Sunil Sinha, Pooja Kandare
Direction: Small Town Films
The name of this new family drama may sound odd, but it becomes quite self-explanatory as you delve into the very first episode – ‘Sutliyan’ is a reference to the weaves that bind families together.
Family matriarch Supriya or Mum-Mum (Raza) puts up a brave front as her three children return home to Bhopal just before Diwali after a long gap. It soon unfolds that it is anything but a simple happy festive gathering, being the very first time the family has been reunited since losing its patriarch over the Covid pandemic. The constraints of lockdown meant that Mum-Mum had to undertake all the last rites on her own, with some welcome help from a supportive family friend and neighbour.
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Ramani (Borthakur), herself the victim of Covid, is quite obviously coping with many demons besides the missed opportunity to say goodbye to her beloved father. Rajan (Panditt), the oldest sibling, is feeling the pressures of now having to take charge as the man of the family while tackling with the imminent collapse of his Covid-hit business. Raman (Shah) is the youngest and the most directionless of the trio, using marijuana as a crutch for his sense of inadequacy.
The strong sibling bond between them is quite palpable but seems to have suffered the strains of time and distance. Gradually, as they each try and untangle their personal dilemmas, secrets and love lives, that bond begins to strengthen once again.
The weaves of the titles quite literally and metaphorically bring the family together after many months of tragedy and loss.
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The very simplicity of this eight-part series is its magic ingredient. It seems to effortlessly weave together a tale that will hit home for most of us who have undergone many worries for our loved ones over a tough lockdown. While Covid is present in the background, the point is never overly laboured – the focus instead being on looking ahead and mending what may have been broken by time.
Raza as the mother hen of the family deserves a special mention for her very natural and heart-warming performance. The only missing element, perhaps which could be fixed if this sweet little show gets a second series, is to highlight more about the traditional Indian weaves that give this series its name.