Sonchiriya Review - Soceital, Cinematic and a Supremely Crafted Slowburning Chase Action
Sonchiriya opens with an extended stretch of a shootout that happens in a wedding rob massacre. The pacing takes all the time without any rule or rush kicking in. And as the film progresses sequence by sequence, moment by moment.. you get that this is an ensemble of a cast and crew that mixes up the spirit of MadMax and Sholay in making one of the truest and passionful films of our time.
Sonchiriya is about two victims.. a woman and a girl, who end up in deserted land and ask out for help among the rebels in Chambal. The journey they share together forms the rest of the film. Bhumi Pednekar as Indumati Tomar gives one heck of a performance. The authenticity in gestures and dialect she brings to the table is terrific. The preclimax stretch where her acting gets vigorously physical shooks you.
Sushant Singh Rajput as Lakhna delivers one of his finest performances. The moments where his character lingers on the grief and guilt are genuinely brought out by the actor in him. Manoj Bajpayee as always fits beyond convincing in his character. However, the lookout performance in the film to me was that of Ranvir Shorey, who is stunningly authentic as Vakil Singh. And, Ashutosh Rana who plays Virender Singh Gujjar is equally stunner in portraying the wounded home man waiting to deploy the rebels.
Anuj Rakesh Dhawan's cinematography is in perfect sync with Abhishek's vision to capture not only the landscapes but the moodscape of Chambal. The background score by Vishal Bhardwaj is alluring. Everytime a sequence slowpades.. the quietly exploding bgm takes over the job of elevating the haunting.
One might wish that the film could have been little more tighter given how expensively slowpaced the movie is. But.. the slowburner quality is what makes Sonchiriya unique from other films of the same genre. The emotional stripping of the characters doesn't happen over a scene or overnight. You follow them.. understand their arc.. their mental delusions and dilemmas.. and this kind of a detailed character study is effortlessly pulled off out of almost every characters without complicating the narration.
The social commentary the film offers is brilliantly subtle. The angles of masculinity, patriarchy and societal discrimination it addresses are strong and ruthlessly echt. The final reveal by Lakhna to Indumati's son's character.. despite being a known information.. pounds as a thunderous fall on the film at that point. This sense of heaviness was there towards the end of Udta Punjab as well. And man, Abhishek facilely chucks out the melodrama in it.
Abhishek Chaubey's Sonchiriya is a revelation in the sense how chase films are done in India. It is uncompromising, unstoppable and unpredictable in every minute of it.
Rating : 3.5/5