SONI Movie Review (2018) – The Movie that needs you!
So I watched Soni, the Netflix Original, after my fellow monk Confusious told me and I quote him – “Watch the goddamn movie”. Taking a cue from such important and honest advice, I couldn’t resist…
- Watching Soni,
- Abusing the shit out of Confusious for giving me such pointless dramatic advice.
And so I reached home, logged into my borrowed Netflix account (Thank you @Sarco) and clicked on the play button for Soni (on my NOT Sony TV – I am terrible at jokes.)
I will tell you what I did think of the movie in the coming few lines, however after watching the movie I couldn’t contain my excitement to discuss the issues that the film spoke about. So I had to talk with some of the people I knew who had watched the film.
5 conversations later, and still unchanged about my own view of the film (Yes, I’ll tell you), I realized that Soni is a movie that will only matter if you know ‘How’ to watch it. Kind of like a ‘perspective illusion’ where the puzzle only fits if you see it from one particular angle. Everyone else thinks you have gone mental.
Mental I maybe, mad I am not.
Boring you might be, this film is not.
A wise man once said
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”
– Henry David Thoreau <—the aforementioned wise man
And so I present three different perspectives of what Soni could be.
You gotta choose your perspective. Just as I picked mine.
Soni, or let’s call it the Best Indian movie on Netflix by far, is as real as it can get.
Soni works night-shifts with the Delhi police and is a no-nonsense cop who works under-cover to uncover crimes against women in the state. She’s short-tempered but rightly so, as everything she faces on her job is nothing short of creepily disgusting and morally disturbing.
Kalpana, a stern yet kind superior, understands the situation Soni is due to her personal and workplace struggles, but can’t really do much because of the rampant chauvinism she constantly faces.
And so, the movie cleverly shifts focus between both women and their daily dealings in the Delhi police force, and shows us something we surely know by now – Being a woman, is a tough job.
Both women face troubles at their homes and at their workplace. This is because society continues to dictate what’s right for them to do. This is where Soni, the film – really shines in all its glory.
Both the protagonists (Saloni Batra and Geetika Vidya) play their characters so well, I’m almost certain Kalpana and Soni, aren’t really fictional. The cinematography of David Bolen is exceptional and the way every scene shows us the ‘reality’ of traversing the underbelly of Delhi, plays out for the characters, is just stunning.
The list is endless. The long-drawn scenes that play out like carefully curated art-pieces, the sense of stifling uneasiness during simple night walks, the brazen privileged patriarchy, the noticeable absence of a background score, the haunting colour scheme of the movie, the conversations that play out very differently when viewed from the perspective of a woman.
Everything comes together beautifully, and it’s always a joy to see that happen.
You need to watch this movie from your own vantage point to understand what the story is trying to convey and possibly learn from it. It’s powerful and grim, but successfully challenges your empathy, without begging or attempting to coerce it. Something that most movies fail miserably at doing. More than being a film on feminism, this is a movie about the existence of casual rampant chauvinism, that is literally present all around us. And we never see it for what it is because they have now become socially acceptable gestures that define our society.
Soni helped me visualize fear from a woman’s perspective and is therefore a movie that absolutely needed to be made. The debutant director Ivan Ayr along with Netflix have shown us that while Soni might not be based on a true story, everything about this film, is well…true.
Soni, is kind of real. I mean not as real as my so-called sad life, but the director is trying to say something profound here.
Soni works night-shifts with the Delhi police (by her own choice that is) and is a kind of an insecure cop who works under-cover to uncover crimes against women in the state. She often does this without proof relying purely on instinct to the point that it’s often more moral policing than actual policing. She’s short-tempered due to the struggles she deals with in her personal life, the grudges she holds and the difficulties she faces at work, due to her to her inability to accept a reality that forces a woman to be subversive!
Kalpana, Soni’s senior inspector, empathizes with Soni’s situation due to irrational personal and workplace experiences, but can’t do much because, well, guess what – she also happens to be a woman! Who would’ve thought eh?
And so, the movie shifts focus in between both these women and their life in the Delhi police force, and shows us something we should already know by now – being a woman is a serious problem in our country.
Both women face challenges at home and at their workplace because society continues to decide what it deems right for them. And this surmounting pressure on the women protagonists forms the basis of the film.
The long-drawn scenes are just way too long (I don’t want to watch someone trying to make tea, from zero to boiling point), the night walks, the men around, the complete lack of a background score which makes the movie kinda dull at times, the ‘this-is-a-real-film’ colour tone, the conversations that show you what it really means to be a woman.
It all just comes together to fit the puzzle. However…
From the vantage point of a silent spectator or a dormant participant in the society, Soni is just another movie in the list of feminist films that sometimes tries way too hard to make a point. And though the point is absolutely correct, the treatment sometimes feel unnecessary and draggy! It’s good and fine, but does it really need your support as a film? I am not too sure! It’s already on Netflix. Not the blockbuster I was hoping for, but surely a good attempt!
Soni is a movie that didn’t need to be made, and the debutant director Ivan Ayr along with Netflix have shown us that although Soni isn’t based on a true story, you could still try to sell it as one. I know I would buy it.
Sony! Sounds like a video game making company, alright!
Soni works night-shifts with Delhi Police when clearly working the kitchen would have been the better option. She works under-cover to fight crimes but is just miserable at it. She’s short-tempered for no reason at all, and as a consequence – everything negative she faces during her job seems absolutely justified.
Kalpana, yet another wannabe female Delhi cop, tries to understand the situation Soni is in cause she thinks it’s her job to help other cops instead of helping the people in need. Women I tell you – Duh!
The movie shifts focus unnaturally between both women and their duty with the Delhi police force, and shows us something we should already know by now – some things should just be left to the men!
Both women face troubles at their homes due to their own insecurities trying to out-do the men in their lives. And this is where Soni, the film completely fails.
The unnecessary long-drawn out scenes (art film thodi dekhna hai!), the totally uncalled for random night walks in a safe Delhi, the over-focus on feminism, the lack of a background score or item number, the absence of vibrant colours and lastly, the off-putting conversations you hate as a man!
It just doesn’t come together at all.
From the vantage point of my arrogant ass, Soni is just another movie in the list of unnecessary films that don’t have heroes – and that’s where the true problem lies. Without male heroes, songs and dance, is a film even a film? Soni is boring and slow and needs to be skipped, because I wasted my time seeing it and that verdict should be enough.
Soni is a movie that didn’t need to be made, and the debutant director Ivan Ayr along with Netflix have shown us that Soni is trying to portray a false image of a woman, masked as a true story. Nothing is wrong, our country is safe, women are getting too bold for their good, they need to stay in their lane.
Now that you’ve read the three perspectives, what did YOU see?
I hope you pick the one that really matters.
After all, Soni is you and me and the men and women that make up society… and we all believe we have a little bit of ‘good’ in us? Don’t we?
Here’s the link for people who want to watch the film – https://www.netflix.com/in/title/81023713