Verdict: A brilliant depiction of the human side of two policewomen.
What we see is not always the truth and Soni, as a film, makes you realize that once again. Superbly directed, co-written, and co-edited by Ivan Ayr, Soni marks his brilliant debut in feature filmmaking. It reflects on the daily lives of two policewomen who are struggling with much more than just crimes and crisis.
What’s Soni About:
The film revolves around Soni (Geetika Vidya Ohiyan) a young Delhi policewoman and her superintendent Kalpana (Saloni Batra). While going through a personal crisis, Soni is trying hard to follow protocols and not lash out on anyone breaking the law or simply misbehaving. Kalpana is an honest IPS who has a soft corner for her team, especially Soni. Both of them have their patience tested to its limits when they suffer oppression and a major setback in their fight to curb the most serious social crisis of a generation.
Soni is a very atypical attempt to show the human side of policewomen who have been bound into protocols and orders. The two main protagonists are constantly trying to break out of the system for good and to fulfill their duty, but face obstacles from almost every direction. They are not taken seriously because of their gender, are harassed sometimes in public and sometimes even on duty. The depressing part of the entire situation is when they are limited by women who have submitted to their gender responsibilities and expect other women to do the same. And the saddest part is that all of this really exists. Both the leading ladies have carried their roles brilliantly. Both of them have impeccably calm faces that don’t respond to unnecessary things while showing a clear exhaustion throughout the movie. While Soni bursts out from time to time, Kalpana’s patience level and sanctity is admirable and aspirational.
The 97-minute movie is laced with relatable references. Radio shows keep mentioning separate services for the safety of women while simultaneously a policewoman is being harassed. The movie is a smooth sail but it leaves you thinking, wondering, and sympathizing with both the women who are struggling to stand up for themselves while being in a position that gives them that responsibility to lift the others.
Every frame in the movie gives out the sense of monotony in the character’s life. All the long single-take scenes add to the ongoing dilemma and the unending struggle. The effective lighting makes you feel like you are a part of the scene. And it doesn’t end there, the movie also subtly shows that those who oppress are also constantly under the pressure of a system they themselves cannot break out of. To suppress has become a part of their duty, regardless of their will. Undoubtedly, the makers of Soni have got the filmmaking right.
What Could Have Been Better:
The film is nearly perfect and we cannot ask for more out of it. However, there are many anecdotes that leave you thinking and we wish they were explained somewhere in the movie.
Why You Should Watch:
Watch Soni because it is a brilliant movie and is bound to teach you a lot of things, both via the story and the filmmaking. It has brilliant performances and is a product of excellent storytelling. It is highly relatable and more importantly, it takes the issues it presents quite seriously.
Other Movies To Watch At MAMI:
This year’s line-up has many women-oriented movies and if you think you would enjoy Soni then you may also like to watch Bulbul Can Sing, Light in The Room, and Widows.