By Madhu Menon*
It was on a Friday, preciously last Friday that my wife sent me an invitation to watch a movie called “Love Sonia” through SMS. I shot back to her saying that I had never even heard about such a film. She replied, that it was our kind of a film and you will not ‘hear’ about it before it released. My doubtful nature irritated her with further query, “Why should we go for a movie on the first day of its release?” She replied with a “look”. OMG that means end of cross questioning, chupp.
We reached the cinema hall – meaning Wife, Son, Niece and self, all four, this time a little early and occupied the seats. Looking around is my habit, and was surprised and relaxed that there were two more persons in the hall, an old couple. That made the hall filled with actually two old couples (hopefully my wife won’t read this review), and two youngsters, a total of six Indians.
I was really upset and worried, why only six individuals to see a movie that is acclaimed by critics, received applause at screenings in London and Melbourne? It had the full backing of David Womark, the Academy Award nominated producer of “Life of Pi”. It has the cast of Mrunal Thakur, who has already won the hearts of millions of Indians through her television appearances, and as Sonia she has performed so well that I could not recognize her.
Then there is Manoj Bajpayee, sadly again as a physic character. Frankly, if he continues with such characters, he might end up becoming one and might also instigate/motivate sincere movie watchers like me to join his league. Richa Chadha, Rajkummar Rao, the Slamdog Millionaire fame Freida Pinto and renowned Hollywood actress Demi Moore, “Love Sonia” has the best people in it.
Then why, why Indians refuse to watch such meaningful, intriguing, and thought provoking movies. The same Indians who come on streets and destroy public property and even endanger lives of our children in school buses, just to protect the esteem of ‘fictional’ Padmavati and force the authorities to change names of films on some whimsical (filmy, right?) reasons, ignore films like “Love Sonia”, which can teach you a lesson or more. It is really unfortunate that we Indians look only for entertainment and “time pass” from a movie.
I wish, films like “Love Sonia” should be part of the syllabus, mandatory screening in all colleges (it is an adult movie so no school screenings) and especially wherever there is a course in communication. We, as a society are becoming numb and callous to sufferings caused by serious issues like human trafficking, child abuse, international sex trade and lost childhoods. It was a painful experience for me to go through the entire film. Believe me I could not sleep well that night.
Yes, you can just close your eyes, or as the proverbial behaviour of the Ostrich hide your head but please realize that we are going through difficult times. The efforts of sensible and sensitive film makers like Tabrez Noorani should be appreciated by more and more people watching this film. Interestingly, this is his directorial debut, we should not fail him. We want a thousand Tabrez Nooranis to expose the cruelty meted out to our children, our adolescent girls, women and of course boys and men.
“Love Sonia” is a courageous attempt by the producers, Amar Butala and Shalini Thackeray supported by executive producers Deepak Nayar and Pruvesh Sahni. We all know that film making is a game, it is a gamble, still hats off to the team “Love Sonia”.
Unfortunately all these scenes are so realistic that it doesn’t titillate but rather brings a lump to ones throat and a frustration for being ‘mute’ spectators.
Through the whole journey of the movie I am sure you will Love Sonia.