By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | September 16, 2018
To be honest, I left the theatre at the interval. I could not bear to see the distortion of a good plot of Love Sonia, which spirals downward the moment Sonia (played beautifully by Mrunal Thakur) enters Mumbai, the city of dreams.
It spirals downward because the premise is now loud, the characters (read those playing the prostitutes) are in-your-face and Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chaddha and Freida Pinto cannot match up to the intensity of Mrunal, whose performance never wavers, no matter what situation she is in.
Tabrez Noorani definitely had good intentions but he loses the grip on a movie that could have been soul-shattering.
I definitely could not Love Sonia, but yes, I did end up loving the performances of Mrunal Thakur and Riya Sisodia.
So why could I not Love Sonia? I guess the answer is in Lakshmi… the 2014 Nagesh Kukunoor film on human trafficking starring Monali Thakur, Nagesh Kukunoor, Shefali Shah and Satish Kaushik.
For Love Sonia to succeed, Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chaddha and Freida Pinto had to shine like Mrunal, apart of course from Tabrez Noorani keeping a firm grip on the script.
In Lakshmi, you had Monali Thakur who gave a powerful performance. With her wide eyes and body language, she transferred her plight and fright onto you as a viewer. She took you through her ordeal. Her performance was very real. It was very scary!
Satish Kaushik was in another zone. You did not know if he was good or evil; he flitted through these characters without emotion. And that was what was very scary. One moment he was this caring elder, and the next he was this filthy animal! It was very scary!
Nagesh Kukunoor as Chinna the pimp was frightening. The way he handled his brother’s business in a clinical manner and the way he never hesitated from using his foul mouth and hands were scary, very scary!
Shefali Shah as the ‘Madam’ in charge of the ‘hostel’ gave off her best performance to date. You wondered how a woman could be so insensitive to a child. But that was the stark reality of this business, Nagesh was trying to portray. Scary, very scary!
Manoj, Richa and Freida in comparison were loud, very loud!
Lakshmi will always be the benchmark for any film on human trafficking, coming out of Bollywood.
Two gems: Mrunal Thakur and Riya Sisodia
Mrunal Thakur is a gem in Love Sonia. She plays a 17-year-old so convincingly, despite being 27 years of age. Full marks to the make-up team! There is never a dull moment whenever she is on screen and she redeems the plot simply by her presence.
Riya Sisodia does not get as much screen time as Mrunal but she too leaves her indelible mark on the film. There’s depth in her performance even though she has to burrow through the plot to extract her pound of flesh.
Here’s hoping Bollywood is kind these two terrific newcomers and welcomes them with roles befitting their talent.
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