‘Soni’ Review: Two Delhi Policewomen Struggle Against Misogyny | Modern Society of USA

‘Soni’ Review: Two Delhi Policewomen Struggle Against Misogyny

‘Soni’ Review: Two Delhi Policewomen Struggle Against Misogyny

The title of Ivan Ayr’s debut feature is a bit misleading: “Soni” is only partly about the titular cop (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan); her immediate superior in the Delhi police department, Kalpana (Saloni Batra), plays an equal role in this quiet character study. Despite their difference in rank, the two women forge a reserved friendship after Soni blows a fuse during an undercover operation — verbally harassed while biking at night, she gives the offender a piece of her mind, and her fists.

While the film is set among cops, it does not involve any crime solving.

Relying almost exclusively on single-take scenes and eschewing music, Ayr details the obstacles in Soni and Kalpana’s way with low-key, quasi-documentary detachment. At its best, that pace creates a trance-like feel, but a few scenes extend their welcome and become plodding.

In this world, men casually assume they are entitled to say or do whatever they want to women, and the slightest interactions can become fraught. After the biking episode, Soni is transferred to the police switchboard and watches as a caller asks an operator for her personal number. Even a women’s restroom becomes a contested space.

The pressure is less overt but just as constant at home. Soni’s ex-boyfriend (Vikas Shukla) sweetly but insistently tries to talk her into a reconciliation. Kalpana’s mother-in-law keeps asking how long she’ll have to wait for a grandchild.

Kalpana’s calm never wavers while Soni struggles, usually unsuccessfully, to control her temper amid the casual machismo. Ayr does not offer any tension-releasing catharsis, making his film efficiently disquieting in its own unassuming manner.

Source link