Soni Movie Review: A silent protest

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Soni is a moving tale that subtly expresses its emotions.

A glum-looking Soni (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan) has come to buy grocery items from a shop and the shopkeeper’s assistant packs everything for her. He also greets her cheerfully, talks to her politely, hands over the package with a smile and sends her off merrily. All the while, Soni just gives him a smile in return hiding all the anger and sadness rankling her (The world will be a better place if all the men behave like that shopkeeper’s assistant with the women). Netflix’s Soni (the title of movie and the name of protagonist) is a poignant take on women and their indignation on various issues concerning men. The best part is that it subtly highlights everything that it is trying to depict and never really tells you, “this is the problem”. You realise that yourself.

Directed by Ivan Ayr, the film not only emphasises upon feminism and troubles of women but also shows how strong, fearless and brave they are or can be. Soni is a policewoman who is grappling with unjust behaviour of some of the men she meets (when she gets into fight with a man in the opening scene because of his misbehaviour and ends up hurting him badly or when she bravely confronts men who have occupied a ladies toilet for smoking pot and are teasing her). We see how she has to bear the brunt of their wrongdoings and have to be content with whatever the life presents to her. Kalpana (Saloni Batra), Soni’s superior in the police department, is the only person who understands Soni and her troubles.

There are instances in the film where we can sense a sort of silent protest being conducted albeit through a crafty approach. Naveen (Vikas Shukla), whose relationship with Soni has taken a backseat, visits her house. On getting to know that someone pelted stone at the window, he asserts that it would not have happened in his presence (This is to show that he thinks a man’s presence is necessary to safeguard women and woman can’t be safe alone). In another scene, a policeman mocks at a guy saying that it is such a shame to take money from a ‘lady’. When Kalpana’s niece locks herself in her room all day and later reveals to Kalpana that she got her periods in the school and was derided by someone, Kalpana encourages her to stay strong and fight back. Sometimes, Soni is just busy going about her household chores as the camera follows her and the silence in the whole sequence projects an eerie picture of her loneliness.

Geetika Vidya Ohlyan’s work is absolutely exemplary and the intrepidity she brings out in Soni’s character is commendable. Saloni Batra’s performance is equally great in the shoes of Kalpana. The brief exchange between Soni and Kalpana at a restaurant left a lasting impression where Soni says, ”Kabhi to lagta hai sab theek ho gaya hai, phir lagta hai vaisa hi hai, kuch theek ni ho sakta” (Sometimes it feels like everything will be alright, then it feels like nothing has changed, nothing can be improved). Soni is a moving tale that subtly expresses its emotions.