Verdict: Sonchiriya deserves to take home awards.
When you think about movies on rebels the first one that comes to your mind is Paan Singh Tomar (2012) followed by Bandit Queen (1994). You may also think of Gabbar Singh from Sholay who is synonymous with terror even today. Sonchiriya is another film based on the same premise. But this Abhishek Chaubey film stands apart from the rest. Starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Ranvir Shorey, Bhumi Pednekar, Ashutosh Rana and Manoj Bajpayee, Sonchiriya is a tale of the dreaded community of dacoits in the Chambal region.
What’s Sonchiriya About:
In the ravines of Chambal, Man Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) and his gang terrorize the village folk. Man Singh’s gang comprises of Lakhan (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Vakil Singh (Ranvir Shorey) among others. Circa 1970, the Emergency has been declared in India and these outlaws who belong to the Thakur community are being hunted down by Gujjar (Ashutosh Rana), a police-officer seeking revenge. While being chased by Gujjar, the dacoits run into Indumati Tomar (Bhumi Pednekar) who is running away from her in-laws with a 12-year-old girl named Sonchiriya. Director Abhishek Chaubey takes you through the inner demons that haunt these remorseful dacoits and the evil that some self-righteous people harbour in their hearts. Lakhan questions his purpose in life and the duty of a dacoit. He wants to surrender to the police but not all his gang members agree with his views. In this tale of dacoits on the run, Sonchiriya makes you wonder who will win – the inner demons or the evil?
Not wavering from his film-making style, Abhishek has given us a raw and rustic film. The director of Udta Punjab and Ishqiya has made yet another gritty film that is in tune with his style. The camera work by Anuj Rakesh Dhawan is simply brilliant. Each frame, be it the shootouts or the dry and dusty landscape, has been captured so beautifully. Not only is this film a visual treat, it is a complete experience with sincere and amazingly convincing performances by the whole cast. Sushant, Ashutosh, Manoj Bajpayee, Ranvir and Bhumi look as convincing as they portray their characters. As a considerate and redemption seeking Lakhan, Sushant is superb. Maan Singh, who is the true leader of the gang, is portrayed effortlessly by Manoj Bajpayee. Ranvir Shorey is outstanding in his portrayal of Vakil Singh while veteran actor Ashutosh Rana is a class apart. Bhumi slips in perfectly into her role as a woman with a story that would tug at your heartstrings. Sudip Sharma’s dialogues are a delight and do not misfire in any scenes. Sonchiriya is loaded with dark humour and is a commentary on caste, patriarchy and other evils making it not just all about the action, but so much more.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The film is remarkable in a lot of aspects, no doubt about it. But had the duration been cut short a bit, it would have made the film crisper. Also, not many may understand the Bundelkhand dialect but the subtitles help a great deal.
Why You Should Watch:
With great ensemble cast-crew and remarkable technical finesse, Sonchiriya is a must-watch. All the aspects work together seamlessly and elevate this film to be what it is – stunning.
Before you head out to watch Sonchiriya, check out what the public had to say about the film: