The bandits and dacoits have often seen restricted to the film ‘Sholay’ in Hindi film industry, but director Abhishek Chaubey shatters all these myths with a bold, poignant, and on-glamorous Sonchiriya.
Set in the year 1975, the film revolves around a bandit gang led by Maan Singh (Manoj Bajpayee) with Lakhan (Sushant Singh Rajput) his most trusted member and Vakil Singh (Ranvir Shorey, who is his friend. While the bandits are the mouse in the circle, the cop Virendra Gujjar (Ashutosh Rana) is the snake who hunts them, and with the caste being the vulture hunting everyone, it is a dangerous circle, indeed. The director has given an interesting caste politics drama, but the film is disappointingly slow paced.
Just like his previous film ‘Udta Punjab’, Abhishek shows the problems, the anxiety, fear with extreme subtly while giving us a glimpse of the bandit’s dark world. Each character in the film is trying to find their salvation, trying to escape from their fate. They are not confused, but, they were brought up to think that it is their ‘Dharma’ to safeguard their caste and folks. They somehow think that are fated for this rollercoaster life.
Their never ending issues come to a stop when they meet a distressed Indumathi (Bhumi Padnekar) who has escaped to get treatment for a young rape survivor.
Indumathi is also another victim of the patriarchy, who, despite her efforts to come out of it finds herself tied to it. Though the movie is set in 1975, the director has balanced the storyline of the film with modernity. The director’s effort at giving each character a backdrop and a story is commendable.
Cinematographer Anuj Rakesh Dhawan has captured the canyons very beautifully. But, it is the acting that stands out. Though you might feel bored within an hour, if patient, you will surely be mesmerized by the film at the end. The action scenes were directed pretty well. Manoj Bajpayee’s cameo role shows why he is one of the best stars of Bollywood.
Sushant delivers a top-notch performance as Lakhan by literally living the character. Also, Shorey acted well as Vakil Singh. The impulsiveness, despair, and maturity that he displays as the character are noteworthy. On the whole, Abhishek Chaubey has given an unconventional but engaging film, but not for everyone.