Debutante director Ivan Ayr’s tale of what is takes to be a woman deserved at least nationwide theatrical release, let alone support and trust
Its indeed tough to be a woman. So what if you are a police officer? Director Ivan Ayr constantly reminds you of this tenet, hitting you hard at times while also waking your conscience up in the most subtle manner. Soni takes a step to talk about what it takes to be a woman, especially in the famously infamous Delhi city, more so when you are a police officer where things are no different. In the outwardly compelling story of two different yet connected-at-heart women, Ayr discusses feminism, in the essence that it deserves to be talked.
Watch the trailer here:
Soni (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan) is a hot headed police officer in Delhi police dealing with cases regarding crime against women. Not keeping calm and beating the other person bad is her basic nature and temperament, much to the disappointment of her boss Kalpana Ummat (Saloni Batra) who’s constantly reminding her of rules, protocols, and her disciplinary responsibilities. Back home, both of them deal with gender issues in their respective scenarios.
The opening sequence says a lot. As Soni is followed by an eve-teaser in the middle of the night, and eventually losing her cool, she beats him black and blue breaking his jaw, you realize crime against women are still rampant. Doesn’t really matter what post you hold. If it could happen to a police officer, it can happen to anybody. This thought provoking scenario is just the first sequence of this hard-hitting film.
Written by Ivan Ayr himself and Kislay, the story is sharp, novel, aimed correctly keeping in mind the socio-political context of the country. Hence, an important film on paper translates to immersive visual content.
You have two police officers- one trying hard to keep her cool, but eventually losing it all. The other one sticks on rules, but she too knows hers is not the ideal way. This interesting aspect of their characterization is what you enjoy and want more of. While they safeguard women on the streets of Delhi at night, back home they constantly struggle to live life on their own terms. A neighbor asking Soni to apply Sindoor while she walks out, or reconciling with her estranged partner; Kalpana nudged to plan a baby and also advised by her husband (a senior police officer) to be bossy with her team- are elements that give this drama layers, depth, and meaning.
The screenplay moves at a leisurely pace in a routine manner, keeping it close to reality. The scenes are crafted in a manner that you are actually able to go inside Kalpana and Soni’s head to feel why they do what they do. And you relate with both. Without being preachy, the story keeps unfolding raising serious concerns on how grave the situation is.
The most noteworthy part of the making remains its long takes. Evidently, the style of shooting gives you a sense of realism allowing you to absorb the situations in their inherent form and connect with the characters so well.
Not that the film doesn’t have flaws. There are a couple of scenes put just to press the issue. Also at times, you feel the situations are repetitive and you are not moving ahead. This inconsistency is screenplay is probably the nature of how the film is meant to be, given the holistic aura. But it does serve as bumps.
Geetika Vidya Ohlyan in the title role is simply amazing. Right from the first scene, she makes you believe in Soni’s intentions, her nature, her rough attitude, and her psyche. Its a complex character but you find her around you all the time. She is a common person with her share of problems battling in her own way. Many applauds to Geetika for becoming Soni and giving the audience the correct sense.
Saloni Batra on the other hand is equally endearing. She sticks to her character, which too has many shades. A strict police officer, a soft-heated boss, a dedicated family woman- wanting to be what she isn’t able to. Presenting such features on screen is too tough. But Saloni nails it. Its a delight and honor to watch her perform.
Also the fact that both the actors are new and don’t carry previous baggage, it becomes easier to root for them.
Nicholas Jacobson Larson and Andrea Panso’s music is good, especially the rightly placed background score and sound designing by Sylvain Bellemare. The sound and even silence, sound dubbing give you the suiting feel.
David Bolen’s camera is amazingly put to use. The way he has presented Delhi’s foggy winter nights is visually enticing giving a sense of thrill to the overall drama. Also during the long takes, the movement of the camera takes you to various locations and even inside the characters’ heads.
Editing by Ayr and Gurvinder Singh is realistic. The cuts are not too many but wherever they are, they give a nice flow to the drama.
Vipin Kamboj’s production design is marvelous. Moving in full sync with the camera, he has established the frames well. They look real and many a times you even forget you are watching a film.
A film of such message and context rightly deserved to reach as many people as possible. In a movement that finds it justified essence conveyed in an emphasizing yet light way, this one is for all- for education, awareness, and evoking a sense of responsibility. This one definitely should be watched.