- BOTTOM LINE
- A Hard-hitting Tale Of Dacoits
|Platform ZEE5||Genre Crime|
What is the Story about?
An incident in the past haunts the gang of rebel dacoits headed by Man Singh (Manoj Bajpayee). The group faces a leadership conflict and trust issue when an ambush by Gujjar (Ashutosh Rana) leaves them headless. How Lakha (Sushant Singh) and Vakil (Ranvir Shorey) takes things forward with conflicting ideologies at the core and where it ends what the film is all about?
It is a significant makeover for Sushant Singh Rajput who has so far played youthful urban characters in various social classes. Here, he plays a rebel in Chambal valley of the ’70s. The look is spot on, and there is a hundred percent effort on the dialogue as well, but it is not there entirely. The initiative is still commendable, and we do see a new persona altogether. In the dramatic and intense sequences, he has done well.
Abhishek Chaubey specialises by now in making hinterland movies. The particular set up seems closer to home for him. It helps a lot in getting the right feel and overall authenticity.
But, there is more to a move that authenticity or the dialect or extracting strong performances. Yes, they are all necessary, but so is the engaging narrative. Abhishek Chaubey fails in that department with Sonchiriya.
When we recall the whole film when its done everything looks clear and straightforward, but that is not the case from the beginning. To avoid a predictable narrative, the director takes a wrong route of muddled narration to start. Individually, each scene feels gripping and is shot with care, but as a narrative, the flow is missing.
The pace is so slow and the narrative so meandering that by the time we reach the interval mark, it feels as if we have seen a whole film. Unfortunately, we are then jolted back to the reality that another half is remaining.
The good thing though is the second half offers a lot more promise and clarity. The whole point and why certain things happen in the first half is known only in the final hour. The narrative picks momentum, but once again, one gets where it all is headed, and that’s where the interest dwindles a bit.
The various characters and actions appear unpredictable on the surface only to end up doing predictable acts. The whole track involving the girl could have been better integrated into the narrative. It needed to click to make entire thing work, but that portions stuck out for a long time.
The climax is predictable but neatly done with a twist that suggests a definite foreign inspiration, a brand of directors has and of which Abhishek is also a part. Still, it is well acted and does create an impact even though a bit late in the day.
Overall, Sonchiriya is a tiring but decent one time watch for the setting, performances and unique topography on offer. The subtitles are a must for a better understanding of the context.
Bhumi Pednekar has done a decent job. She is mostly paired with Sushant which helps her maintain a level field an actor. Ranvir Shorey is fab in a role that is almost a parallel lead to the hero. He holds his ground until the end and stands tall as the bigger figure. Manoj Bajpayee is the best of the lot but with limited screen time. He is terrific, as usual. Ashutosh Rana gets a dominant role after a gap, and he doesn’t disappoint. However, his part gets progressively weaker, and the blame for that must go to the writing. The rest are all decent to excellent in small bits and pieces roles they have been given.
Music and other departments?
Vishal Bharadwaj provides the music for the film whose presence is hardly felt in the narrative. The background score is superb and adds to the unique feel generated by the cinematography of Anil Mehta. The editing by Rameshwar could have been tighter. Abhishek Chaubey and Sudip Sharma have done a fantastic job with the dialogues, but as mentioned previously one needs subs to understand them.
Parts of the Second Half
Did you enjoy it
Yes in parts
Will you recommend it?
Yes but with reservations.
Sonchiriya Review by Siddartha Toleti