Cast: Mrunal Thakur, Richa Chadda, Demi Moore, Freida Pinto, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Adil Hussain, Sai Tamhankar
Director: Tabrez Noorani
Rating: 2.5 / 5.00 stars
My initial expectations from Tabrez Noorani’s “Love Sonia”, were that it might be a film with a social message which people, in general, might not be ready to appreciate. This film revolves around the story of a girl from a Maharashtrian village, who gets caught in the global sex trade network. It beautifully depicts how this profession operates at many levels, mainly as an organised business. This film does not leave you just with the brutal realities, but it also manages to be a poetic narrative at the same time. There have been many movies made on this subject in the past, but they do not involve the audience as this film does. Their treatment of the subject does not force us to think about the issue as a social menace, and we easily forget about it as soon as the film comes to an end.
The film’s raw energy manages to overwhelm the audience and leaves them in awe at the talent with which the story has been told. Even after the movie has ended the viewer is left with too much food for thought. While watching the film, you will feel the pain that the central character, a young school girl, Sonia, is going through physically and mentally during the whole journey.
The film beautifully depicts the loss of innocence of childhood and how this young girl is forced to face the harsh realities of life, in an unexpected turn of events. While watching the film, you will experience that something is dying inside you while you witness the hell ride Sonia undertakes. Sonia comes to life like a striking charcoal painting; her character is finely juxtaposed to the antagonist. “Love Sonia” does not give up on the idea of beauty, and proves that even in the scarcity of information one can find an abundance of truth and the hidden artistic beauty.
Sonia’s father Shivaji (Adil Hussain), is a debt-ridden farmer, ploughing a drought-ridden land. He sells Sonia’s sister, Preeti, into flesh trade. But he decides to keep Sonia with him. Although, who stays and who leaves, is an entirely commercial decision, and not an emotional one. Shivaji knows that Sonia is physically stronger than her sister, so he decides against sending her away.
The deal to send Preeti from Mumbai is broken when the village’s exile, Dada Thakur (Anupam Kher), cleanses her with the holy water and purges her of the ‘sins’ to appease the good spirits. Sonia requests Dada Thakur to help her in going to Mumbai so that she can live with her sister. Thakur agrees to help her with a sinister smile playing on his face. At this point, his daughter, who is the same age as Sonia suddenly makes an appearance in the scene, and Thakur is no longer smiling.
Sonia shares a deep relationship with nature as we come to know as the movie unfolds. In the narrow lanes of Mumbai, she loses her touch with the natural surroundings too. Sonia (Mrunal Thakur) is awed by the strange wonders of Mumbai – all its lanes and its many contradictions.