Saturday, 11 August 2018

A sublime soul punch: Tabrez Noorani's 'Love Sonia' opens IFFM 2018

An IFFM opening night tradition was continued by Freida Pinto, Richa Chadda, Mrunal Thakur and Tabrez Noorani
Up late writing the following reaction to Tabrez Noorani's 'Love Sonia', which opened the 2018 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne last night with a soul punch. Just as I knew would happen, I awoke with it still vibrating my brain like fireworks behind my eyelids. A simply phenomenal -- and shockingly NECESSARY -- masterwork by all involved. A full day of panel discussions awaits today so I'll keep this post short. First, what I posted to Instagram from a rented room in Elwood in the early morning hours:
It would be easy to focus solely on the physical effects wrought by #IFFM2018 festival opener #LoveSonia: visceral rage, a galloping pulse long after house lights reveal tear-reddened eyes, an acidic longing for justice in a hellscape of wickedness and perversion. Twenty minutes into this film my nerves were shot ... and that was only the preamble. Director and story creator Tabrez Noorani’s approach is unrelenting, sometimes traumatic, as haunting as the obliteration of innocence in a young girl’s eyes. These effects are real, but they do not matter. No, what MATTERS, and what arms this hypnotically horrifying film with a righteous hammer, is that it connects moviegoers to the plight of sex trafficking victims around the world like live wires on exposed flesh — the resultant shock and public awakening could (and mother-of-all-things-holy SHOULD) save lives. Every facet of this film — acting, writing, directing, the works — is a pinnacle of an art form too often vapid and shameless. However difficult ‘Love Sonia’ may be to sell to a pap-addicted public, it left me in furious awe of director @tabreznoorani and the almost mystical performances of its cast. That @mitulange and @iffmelbourne allowed audiences in two packed cinemas to interact with its stars @therichachadha, @freidapinto and staggering newcomer @mrunalofficial2016 is why I flew from NZ to attend IFFM. Thank you Mitu, and thanks to all responsible for ‘Love Sonia’.
Mrunal Thakur, Tabrez Noorani, Freida Pinto and Richa Chadda introduce a film that several said barely scratches the surface of sex trafficking. 

After fielding questions from both of the cinemas that screened 'Love Sonia' last night, Freida Pinto remains radiant as she leaves.

Bollywood heartthrob Vicky Kaushal escorts Richa Chadda from the cinema.

After praising director Tabrez Noorani's film as 'the most disturbing film I have ever seen', world-renowned director Rajkumar Hirani walks out with a beaming Noorani. 

Mrunal Thakur. As Freida Pinto said while introducing the film, she's the next big thing -- for all the right reasons. 

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