Based in Chambal and somewhere around the '70s, we are first introduced to Man Singh and his men, who are dacoits and are in need of money to buy guns ..  Man Singh's gang of bandits also consists of two other major characters Vakil and Lakhna. The bond they share with each other, with their fellow gang members and with Man Singh himself is swiftly established in the initial few scenes. Acting on a tip, that a lot of gold and cash will be exchanged at a wedding, Man Singh and gang reach the venue but it turns out to be a trap laid out by the cops and Man Singh and half of his gang members are killed in a fierce battle. Vakil and Lakhna manage to escape but they have different ideologies that break up the gang later, to make things more dramatic they meet Indumati who is on the run from her husband, along with her sister, they seek help from the gang, who reluctantly agree ...and the movie keeps snowballing from there on. The Bundelkhand dialect may be a little tough to come to terms with for even an avid Bollywood audience who prefer this genre, however, a slow but gripping screenplay and the sharp dialogues carry the movie successfully. Sticking to his forte, Abhishek Chaubey paints a very candid bigger picture of the tussles between righteousness and morals, principles and needs. A powerful script by Sudip Sharma underlines the conscience of the dacoits and their never-ending wish for redemption and salvation. The story also fairly touches on issues such as divide on the basis of cast and gender. The locations are beautifully shot keeping in mind the flavour of the movie and the action scenes are believable - simplicity is Chaubey's strong suit. Manoj Bajpayee as Man Singh has the maximum impact in spite of him having a very tiny role, his performance is to the point and he plays a dacoit with a big heart super convincingly, Sushant Singh Rajput as Lakhna is a close second, he impresses in every scene, especially in scenes with Man Singh and Indumati played by Bhumi Pednekar. Versatile Ranvir Shorey plays Vakil with ease and has complete command over his act, while Ashutosh Rana also breezes through in his role of a cop who is determinant to clean up the gang completely. Music given by Vishal Bhardwaj is below average and somehow manages to do the bare minimum in the context of the movie. the movie does tend to feel slightly slow and repetitive during the course of the second half but an introduction to a few new characters just at the right time works well.

Sonchiriya, currently streaming on ZEE5, is yet another example of how Abhishek Chaubey is comfortable taking topics that are not considered mainstream cinema material and giving them a powerful makeover.  With stellar performances by a multi-talented cast and a good enough script, Sonchiriya makes for a decent watch.
rating 3.5/5

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