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Sonchiriya Movie Review

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What Say’s Mr. Ahwaan about Sonchiriya
” A bloody tale of rampage and redemption in the ravines “

Bollywood’s fascination with Dacaits is vintage stuff – from Sholay to Dacait to the critically acclaimed Bandit Queen, the tales are weaved around revenge and bloodbath,owing its genesis to feudal oppression and repressive casteism.Abhishek Chaubey’s Sonchiriya resurrects that genre in the cruel valleys of Chambal and is centered around a bunch of outlaws in their pursuit of survival and intrinsic desire for redemption.

There is a sense of novelty here. The plot doesn’t trace the reason why this set of people turned into rebels.Under the aegis of their leader , Maan Singh( Manoj Bajpayee), they plunder the wealthy thakurs amassing their jewellary and cash.Maan Singh relies heavily on the hot-headed Vakil Singh ( Ranvir Shorey)and Lakhna( Sushant Singh Rajput ) who is equally haunted by the horrors of the past as Maan Singh himself , and inclined towards a surrender. The bandit group is constantly under the threat of the evil Daroga, Gujjar( Ashutosh Rana) who has a personal score to settle with Maan.

A series of altercations, treachery and double crossings form the initial plotline until the group encounters Indu( Bhumi Phednekar) who is on her way to save a severely brutalised 12-year old,named Sonchiriya – she becomes the metaphor for ‘mukti’ or the redemption everyone is seeking.

There is a lot to admire in this film except for its butt-numbing length(of 2 hours 30 minutes) which calls for an editing precision towards the flabby and overstretched second half. Chaubey and co-writer Sudeep Sharma conjure up gritty moments , matching up with the intensity of the scorching sun hovering on the unforgiving ravines. The cinematography is top notch and Rekha Bharadwaj croons to Vishal’s lyrics with incredible heft, giving an emotional wallop to the drama – they are beautifully laced with the action sequences soaked with blood and gun shots.

Sonchiriya benefits humungously from the talented cast who infuse life into their roles. Sushant Singh Rajput is incredibly earnest and delivers with commitment. Bhumi is fiery and a firebrand , a new stereotype that has evolved from her past roles. Ranvir Shorey’s unrelenting display of anguish and vulnerability gives the film a blunt edge while Bajpayee, reprising Maan Singh is a treat to watch ! Ashutosh shines in the deliciously evil part. There are token appearances of artists who play Phulan and Mallah which could have been avoided to shorten the films length.

The dialect is difficult to comprehend, but Sudip Sharma never makes the narrative inaccessible. It has strokes of unintended humor,discomfort , brutality and moments that qualify it as an engrossing drama.

I go with 3 stars .

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