Some moments are unforgettable, and not because they are life-changing experiences. Such occasions, on the other hand, might be striking because of their remarkable ordinariness.
This writer remembers a specific night from the late 1990s. He had walked into his rented Munirka apartment in New Delhi at around ten o'clock at night. His mother opened the door, looked at the wall clock, frowned and murmured: “Why so late? I was feeling uneasy.”
Rather similarly, debutant filmmaker Ivan Ayr’s film Soni, which is available on Netflix, is the kind of realistic film that can make you uneasy. The film’s idea is said to have been inspired by the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and assault incident that had taken place in Munirka.
Powerful and moving, the film intermittently reminds us of the vicious circle of patriarchy that is omnipresent in our so-called modern society,
The must-watch film is a story of two female cops, Soni (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan) and Kalpana (Saloni Batra). The former is mercurial, while the latter is much calmer and professionally several rungs higher. Entrusted with the task of catching sexual harassers, the two of them become close friends.
The film unfolds at a leisurely pace. Through the story of the two protagonists, the viewer comes face to face with the uncomfortable truths of misogyny and gender politics that have such a negative impact on social progress.
Soni, who lives alone, has to deal with dejection and solitude. Kalpana, in spite of her professional stature, is repeatedly reminded by her mother-in-law that she is childless. Ayr tackles the film's subject with noteworthy sensitivity, while both the protagonists are marvellous in their respective roles.
Briefly, if you do not watch Soni, you will miss a fine film. So, catch it if you can.
One interesting series worth checking out is streaming on ALTBalaji. It is a suspense thriller titled Apaharan starring Arunoday Singh and Mahie Gill, which tells the story of an inspector with Uttarakhand police, Rudra Srivastava, who is tempted into kidnapping a girl to extract money
Baazaar, a relatively new feature film starring Saif Ali Khan as a business tycoon who has made his millions by buying and selling shares, is also on Netflix. It is a stock market thriller, a story woven around Dalal Street. Not at all a common theme for Hindi cinema, director Gauravv K Chawla has handled it rather well.
A small-town boy (Rohan Mehra, son of late actor Vinod Mehra) goes to Mumbai. He is eager to work with his idol, a successful businessman (Khan) with a classic rags-to-riches story. The young man is sucked into the manipulative world of the stock market where words such as honesty and morality are only meant to be used for those who don’t belong to that space. What happens thereafter is the story.
Mehra, who has a fixed set of expressions, is a thorough disappointment. Saif, despite his erratic Gujarati accent, holds the film together with a solid performance. It is not a second Langda Tyagi; still, he will make you watch the film.
A much-awaited Amazon Prime Video release is a web series, Four More Shots Please!. A story that focuses on the modern-day woman, the plot set in South Mumbai hinges on the lives of four women who must confront their respective sets of situations and deal with them as life goes on.
The official synopsis reads, “Four More Shots Please! is the urban, millennial Indian woman's gaze, a slice-of-life, brutally realistic portrait of what it is like to be in a country caught in a constant battle between the traditional and modern, to be a thinking woman, to be free in a country caught up in chains and to be honest in a country that thrives on hypocrisy.”
The series stars Sayani Gupta (Inside Edge), Kirti Kulhari (Pink), Bani J (MTV Roadies), and Maanvi Gagroo (Tripling), along with a stellar supporting cast with names like Prateik Babbar, Neil Bhoopalam, Lisa Ray, Milind Soman, Amrita Puri, Sapna Pabbi and Simone Singh. All in all, it comes across as an ambitious project worth watching out for
One interesting series worth checking out is streaming on ALTBalaji. It is a suspense thriller titled Apaharan starring Arunoday Singh and Mahie Gill, which tells the story of an inspector with Uttarakhand police, Rudra Srivastava, who is tempted into kidnapping a girl to extract money. The person who comes up with this idea is the girl’s mother. What seems like a simple crime story becomes increasingly complicated after other unexpected developments take place
Is the series an enjoyable watch? Yes, it is. Viewers used to watching web series and films these days should see Soni first. After that, they can make the most of what’s on offer.