After her father (Adil Hussein) sells her sister Preeti (Riya Sisodia) owing to his debts, Sonia (Mrunal Thakur) sets out to Mumbai in search of her sibling only to end up in the gruesome clutches of flesh trade.
Positive Points: –
- Tabrez Noorani’s direction makes the film visually sterling albeit difficult to gulp owing to its blatant portrayal of brutalities.
- The performance of the entire cast.
- There is a lot of honesty in the depiction of human trafficking in Love Sonia. Even if it won’t be an easy affair to watch the film, it will be a learning experience which won’t die out soon in your heart.
Negative Points: –
- As a story, Love Sonia is strong and taut but as a screenplay, it’s an uneven collection of footages craving for some continuity and sleekness.
- The character interactions in the film are lukewarm and largely unappealing. Love Sonia is no doubt gruesome and hence difficult to sit through, but its emotional strength is far too weak for its very own subject.
Direction, Screenplay & Other Technicalities: –
Love Sonia is not the first film on human trafficking and it won’t be the last. So, the events of the film can be well speculated without fail. In such cases, the scrutiny of the film depends on how the events occur instead of what. Director Tabrez Noorani understood this pretty well and set up the apt atmosphere to depict the flesh trade in the ghettos of Mumbai and beyond. What’s positive about the set is its overall darkness with mild tinges of glitter unlike the glamorous portrayal of brothels and prostitutes in most commercial flicks. The movie stays honest and true to its storyline and doesn’t shy away from being violent and gory. Nevertheless its unsettling visuals, Love Sonia is never repugnant to the audience who fathom its social commentary through its vicious and brutish visuals. While the direction, performances and cinematography steer the narrative, the writing and editing somewhat hinder the same. It’s important to realise that stories like this depend a lot on their characters and the way they interact with each other. Here, as the plot thickens the characters become less prominent and their respective interactions among themselves get watered down. Many times the story seems to be stretched unnecessarily as its prime characters act too foolishly as opposed to what anyone would do in their situations. The film wants to sell the naivety and foolishness of its protagonist as her innocence which in turn makes her characterisation ridiculous and also nettling at times.
Mrunal Thakur gets a dream debut. She is stellar as the eponymous character and proves her mettle as an actress outside the television arena. It’s good to see that she didn’t settle for a commercial flick for her debut and instead went for a very serious film both in terms of theme and quality.
Though Freida Pinto has been into acting for over a decade, Love Sonia is arguably her Bollywood debut and she absolutely sets the screen on fire making it almost impossible to look away from her.
Even if Richa Chaddha gets to play a very subtle character, she manages to make her mark effortlessly and efficaciously.
Manoj Bajpayee is, without any doubts, the best performer of the movie and his barbarous portrayal as the pimp overshadows everyone on the screen, even the protagonist. As stated in my review of Gali Guleiyan, I’m yet to find a movie where I didn’t like his performance, and I’m glad for that!
Riya Sisodiya makes a fine debut despite her minimal screen presence. Adil Hussein, Anupam Kher, Sai Tamhankar and Rajkummar Rao perform well in their respective cameos.
Final Verdict: –
Love Sonia should have been a documentary rather than a feature film. It’s unabashedly harsh and its grisly portrayal of the sex market across the world can be unnerving. The movie witnesses some fine and some outstanding performances, both by the debutants and the veterans who pour life into the story and do justice to its strong and relevant subject matter. Love Sonia is undoubtedly an important film and you should definitely go for it provided you aren’t a faint-hearted individual!