Review By : Movie Run Time : 2 hours 26 minutes Censor Rating : A

Production: RSVP Movies Cast: Bhumi Pednekar, Sushant Singh Rajput Direction: Abhishek Chaubey Screenplay: Abhishek Chaubey Music: Vishal Bharadwaj Cinematography: Anuj Rakesh Dhawan

One of the most careless thoughts that are carried throughout our mainstream cinema is that the act of killing is rarely followed by a consequence. The recklessness of men engaging in a battle can only lead to deaths that come with no baggage. Abhishek Chaubey's Sonchiriya makes the non-existent baggage so heavier that it becomes a debt on the shoulders of those men, a debt that haunts them for life.

Set in the period of Emergency, Sonchiriya chronicles the journey of a gang of dacoits, or rebels, as they like to call themselves, led by Maan Singh (played by Manoj Bajpai), and their disintegration as they become prey to an ambush by the policemen during a loot. The remaining dacoits succumb to infighting as they become divided over saving a woman and a battered, wounded girl child who is in dire need of medical care. Maan Singh doesn't appear to be the madman who terrorises people with brute force but instead uses his pied Piper-like charm to make his loot appear like a charity event. Underneath this demeanor, we can sense Maan Singh's cautiousness to not tread into violent consequences, which might also be the result of an aura that only disturbs him and his fellow dacoit, Lakhan (played by Sushant Singh Rajput).

Sonchiriya's construct and it’s take on morality feels closer to that of a Tamil film Onaayum Aatukuttiyum directed by Mysskin, where hardened killers seek redemption for their sins. But the scenarist (the film is written by Sudip Sharma and Abhishek Chaubey) deepens it by showing the characters being divided into the lines of caste and their myopic views on valour. But unlike OA, the violence of Sonchiriya is less stylised and more brutal. The blood splattering from the faces of men feels so real and graphics (The reds are more saturated). Even the film's Mexican standoffs feel less glamourized as they represent conflict and not confrontation. The visceral nature is amplified by the imbalance between the policemen and the dacoits. The latter is outnumbered by the former and the bandits have to gun their way to escape.

The anchor of Sonchiriya, the zen in the midst of such bloodshed, is a dying little girl, rescued by Indumati Tomar (played by Bhumi Pednekar) from her own kin. The notions of a rebel's honour start to develop some cracks, thus forming rebels within the rebels. It becomes more apparent that these bandits are the part of an even more evil form of an establishment like caste system and purity associated with it. The film slyly deploys the operatic, hero-centric type of action in the second half, when Lakhan becomes a saviour to the women. Even this Bollywood-ish stretch is abruptly cut by brutal aftermath (The film takes a dig at the age-old Hindi film cliche of dacoits riding horses). Hence the film is tonally consistent. Every aspect of the film feels less manipulative and more real, ranging from the performances to the way the film is shot ( the cinematography is by Anuj Rakesh Dhawan). The film's revelations feel less forced or clichéd, as they come across as some subtle pushes that force the characters to go in search of closure, something that is above ethics, loot and even survival.

Sonchiriya works on many levels. The film challenges the notions of manhood mainly through Indumati. Despite being a period piece, the film resonates with a recent incident that shook the conscience of the nation. Sonchiriya shows that the inherent goodness of people, no matter how scarce the amount, is enough to salvage the idealism, the utopia (or Sonchiriya) of the country without letting them from becoming mere collateral damage, like every male in this film.

Verdict: Sonchiriya is a thrilling action-adventure that resonates even with today's social issues. Try not to miss.


3 5 ( 3.0 / 5.0 )





Sonchiriya (aka) Sonchiriyaa

Sonchiriya (aka) Sonchiriyaa is a Hindi movie. Bhumi Pednekar, Sushant Singh Rajput are part of the cast of Sonchiriya (aka) Sonchiriyaa. The movie is directed by Abhishek Chaubey. Music is by Vishal Bharadwaj. Production by RSVP Movies, cinematography by Anuj Rakesh Dhawan.