Sonchiriya Review: A Masterful Look at Daakus With Existential Issues


Sonchiriya Review: A Masterful Look at Daakus With Existential Issues

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty


n one of the more harrowing moments in Abhishek Chaubey’s masterful Sonchiriya, Phooliya, the red head-banded leader of the Mallah gang of dacoits tells Indumati (Bhumi Pednekar) – a Thakur wife who has fled home after killing her father-in-law for raping a 12-year-old untouchable girl – to join her gang. She makes this offer as she helps Indumati and Lakhan (Sushant Singh Rajput), a dacoit from a rival outlawed gang, ferry the survivor to the nearest hospital.

Indumati reveals to her that they’re not from the same caste – a piece of information that requires brandishing, given that dacoit gangs are victims of caste segregation. Phooliya shakes her head and delivers the film’s most chilling line, “Castes are there to categorise men.” All women, Phooliya tells Indumati, make up a wholly different caste, that is beneath everyone. It’s a scene that also encapsulates the extent of Chaubey and co-writer Sudip Sharma’s (NH10, Udta Punjab) ambition: To examine the psyche of a sub-culture that falls at the intersection of patriarchy, caste, and cyclical violence. The result is a jarring psychological meditation on rebellion: As Sonchiriya ponders, can salvation really be attained if one continues to be bound by the inherited shackles of tradition?