REVIEW: Sonchiriya - A haunting yet beautifully staged drama showing dacoits with a 'conscious' mind

Updated: Mar 4, 2019

"Ek Baaghi ka Dharam kya hota hai ?" - A question Sushant went on asking his superiors, no one gave him a proper answer but the answer lies in the thing he actually did in the movie.

A drama set in 1970's at the ravines of Chambal, Sonchiriya is beautifully centered around the true meaning of its title. It covers violence, religion, caste, sexual abuse in the right amounts. The drama is set in a world filled with dacoits and police. Man Singh (Manoj Vajpayee) is the principled leader of his gang of dacoits who is in constant fight with a ghost of his past, a thing which he regrets the most in his entire life. They plan a loot on a gold dealer's house during her daughter's wedding, to get as much as gold they can get. But things don't go as they planned and unfortunately half of the gang meets its fate. The other half of the gang including Lakhan (Sushant Singh) and Vakil (Ranvir Shorey) somehow escapes the violent situation but on their way, they come across Indumati (Bhumi Pednakar) who wants to save a small girl as her condition is critical after being raped. And then at the end somehow, it is all about this girl being saved from dying.

Sometimes movie just needs a proper characterisation to win your heart and this movie has a brilliant characterisation. First of all, Man Singh is a dacoit but he is religious , superstitious and principled, he comes to a place with announcements and plans t loot every jewellery of the gold dealer but still tells Vakil to give at least one hundred and one rupees to the daughter as 'shagun.' He and Lakhan are haunted by an incident they did in the past which compels you to think this movie is more of a psychological-horror thriller in the first half but it will leave you awestruck when you come to know about it , in the beginning of second half. Sushant as Lakhan plays the role of dacoit who is forced to be a dacoit, he is tired to play someone he doesn't want to be and he tries so hard to escape it but the forces around him make this difficult. This movie tries to capture so many emotions in its arms, that some of it just fells down from it. Abhishek Chaubey wanted us to make emotional at all scenes as he approaches the end and he almost perfectly made it gut-wrenching but some scenes just lost its value as so many things happening in the movie, all at the same time. All the characters meet their point of self- realization or reached their ultimate destiny and it does manages to put a small thunder of feelings in your heart but fails to make a proper rain. Also, the announcement of emergency in the country and Man Singh approaching towards the wedding location and the cow mooing when he starts making his announcement are some clever and humorous devices used in the film.

Manoj Vajpayee and Ranvir Shorey did a spectacular job as if they were born dacoits. Sushant finally after playing Dhoni gets another role he would be praised for in his whole life. Bhumi Pednakar was fantastic, I am quite sure that she is never going to play a bad role in her life. A special appearance of Phulan Devi was perfect and so Ashutosh Rane playing the role of cop. Script perfectly captures the needed atmosphere and dialect. Cinematography was impressive, no flaws there and some shots which are meant to make you feel scared and confused looked very good. Direction was amazing , just a bit stretch of events in the second half might make some people feel boring, it kind of lost the immense grip on your mind it had in the first half. Music was okay, not too bad or not too good.

Overall, this movie is beautifully staged drama and almost a masterpiece of its own kind.

Acting - 4 / 5.

Direction - 3.5 / 5.

Script - 4 / 5.

Cinematography - 3.5 / 5.

Music - 3 / 5 .

Final Verdict - 3.5 / 5

Definitely worth a watch.