I am speechless and euphoric ! Abhishek Chaubey, take a bow sir cause this gem of yours reminded me of Sergio Leone and Vishal Bhardwaj is definitely our very own Ennio Morricone. I am just unable to remove the haunting background score and songs from my head.
The period is set in 1975, a fact that you are made aware of when a radio announces the imposing of emergency and a band of dacoits plan to loot a village. These dacoits are surrounded by the police and it turns out to be a bloodied conflict. Were the dacoits setup by their informant ? The leader of the gang Daku Thakur Mansing sees haunting images of a young girl, a guilt of an earlier crime gone wrong. The second rung leader Thakur Vakil Singh doubts that they were setup by an insider. But were they ?
A policeman, Birender Singh Gujjar, is after their blood, who is this police, and what is his backstory. ? The young rebel or “baaghi” leader of dacoits, Lakhna Thakur is in a dilemma, disillusioned by the life in ravines, he is having second thoughts. Will he surrender ? A thakur woman, called Indumati Tomar requests help from the dacoits to go to hospital, to save a girl child who is in a critical condition after being raped by another thakur. The girl is Sonchiriya [Pronounced as Son”chidiya”], an untouchable.
Looking for salvation, how each dacoit leader reacts to the situation is the plot of the story. Sonchiriya, a living person becomes a metaphor to hope for the dacoits.
Honey Trehan’s casting is fantastic, all actors are top notch. Manoj Bajpayee is super good and with this role, he has moved ahead of Bhiku Mhatre, and will be remembered as Daku Mansingh. and so will be Ravir Shorey as Daku Vakil Singh. Sushant is amazing, standing his own against veterans. Ashutosh Rana and Bhumi Pednekar are good too, especially Bhumi who nails it with her performance.
Direction, Cinematography and Music are top class and can give all established names, a run for their money.
The movie is undoubtedly heavy and may not be lapped up by the mainstream audience, but it’s their loss. Such movies need to be watched in theatres.
The dialogues though in Bundelkhandi, are fantastic too. “Sarkar ki goliyon se koi mara hai kabhi, ha unke wado se zaroor”.
After Gullyboy, it’s Sonchiriya..Indian cinema is on a roll ! Do not miss this haunting tale of desperation, guilt and hope.