The brain needs to pressurise and understand the story of ‘redemption’ and ‘rebellion’. This dacoit drama is masterpiece.
Direction: Abhishek Chaubey
Screenplay & Dialogues: Sudeep Sharma
In Indian cinema, a filmmaker picks a specific genre and explores it within commercial essence but there are few filmmakers who explore the sub-genre which requires the creativity and the art. Abhishek Chaubey marks himself in the list of these filmmakers with Sonchiriya.
Sonchiriya follows the gang in MP’s ravines guided by Man Singh aka Dadda (Manoj Bajpayee. Man Singh’s gang plans a raid on the house of a wealthy jeweller in her daughter’s marriage. Abhishek Chaubey added the significance of the 1975’s emergency which can be heard in radio through the voice over where Indira Gandhi declares the emergency. In this raid, we find the main antagonist Gujjar (Ashutosh Rana) who wants to take revenge from Man Singh.
Story continues and we get the new leader Vakil Singh ( Ranvir Shorey) who is Dadda’s special man along with Lakhna (Sushant Singh Rajput). Man Singh and Lakhna are facing inner trauma of taking the death of children during the fight with Balkhandiya Gujjar.
Vakil Singh and Lakhan have different perspectives. Lakhan consoles Vakil to surrender Rajasthan police because STF wants to kill the Bandits of the Chambal. Lakhna asks Man Singh the question to Man Singh that what is the Dharma of a rebel and he gets an answer from Vakil Singh that living in ravines and dying in raving is the Dharma of a rebel. Slowly you’ll understand the motive.
The title of the film has been taken from the name of a teenage Dalit girl who has been raped and needed treatment. Indumati Tomar (Bhumi Pednekar) has taken the revenge of her and she decides to give her treatment on time and she takes help of Lakhna.
In this new situation, Abhishek Chaubey showed the caste system with Thakurs and Gujjars. Lakhna has the only aim to reach Dholpur on time to give medical treatment to teenager girl. In the whole case, the lot of things happen and they meet Phuliya who also suffered from the same thing what the Dalit girl is having.
Phuliya’s character has been used to define the reason behind the transformation to rebel. In the chase of Police and rebels, the rule of this nature becomes true. There is a food-circle in nature and Chaubey essayed this rule with the caste system in the story.
Manoj Bajpayee in a special appearance as Man Singh is commendable. He proves yet again with his versatility in Dadda’s role. Ranvir Shorey is a pure and energetic piece. This man is outstanding in every role. Vakil Singh is the character, you’ll remember for him. Ashutosh Rana is favourite antagonist and he made an impact with Gujjar.
Sushant Singh Rajput as Lakhna is powerful and catches your attention in every frame. In the second half, Sushant guided the film on his shoulder. Bhumi Pednekar is impressive as the female protagonist. She has given her finest performances of the career.
Indumati Tomar represents the community of those women who face inner and outer trauma in society and in the family. Indumati gets slapped by his own son which shows the conditions of the women during the 70s. Her story is as heartful as Phuliya’s story.
Co-writer Abhishek Chaubey and Sudeep Sharma have written a tight screenplay. Sudeep Sharma has written fine dialogues which is the highlight of the film. He had written Punjabi dialogues in Udta Punjab, and Urdu in Ishqiya. This time he picked Bundelkhandi and the dialogues have nailed it.
The cinematography from Anuj Dhawan is remarkable. He built up the dacoit drama narration with using landscapes, and close-up shots. The chasing scenes and the Chambal valley scenes are shot very brilliantly. The music by Vishal Bhardwaj and the vocals of Rekha Bhardwaj added breath to the film. Background score helps the audience to get the inner tone of characters. Sound designer Kunal Sharma is effective. Editing from Meghna Sen is sharp and doesn’t leave a missed point.
Rita Ghosh is the Production Designer has shown her fine work in Nandita Das’ Manto and this time, she helped Abhishek Chaubey to get the perfection to create the atmosphere for a dacoit drama.
Sonchiriya includes all the elements of the dacoit drama like caste system, feminism, patriarchy, social issues and politics. I put this film on the list of ‘Django Unchained’, ‘Bandit Queen’ and ‘Paan Singh Tomar’. The performances are real and outstanding. It’s not easy to perform with the perfect Bundelkhandi language but the actors were phenomenal in this accent.
Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity. Sonchiriya proves it right. The brain needs to pressurise and understand the story of ‘redemption’ and ‘rebellion’. This dacoit drama is a masterpiece.
Picture Courtesy: RSVP