‘Soni:’ A placid attempt at highlighting violence against women

The horrific case of Nirbhaya brought into sharp focus the crimes against women in Delhi. (Screen shot)
Updated 12 September 2018
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‘Soni:’ A placid attempt at highlighting violence against women

VENICE: The horrific case of Nirbhaya — a young medical intern who was raped on a moving bus in 2012 — brought into sharp focus the crimes against women in Delhi. Ivan Ayr’s “Soni” plays on its after-effects as two female police officers show us what it takes to keep the streets of the city safe at night.

Screened at the Venice film festival, “Soni” is a no-nonsense movie about a young policewoman by the same name (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan) and her boss, Kalpana (Saloni Batra). Together, they scout the streets of Delhi to prevent rape and other acts against women. In a highly male-dominated, patriarchal society, theirs is no easy task.

Ayr’s narrative relies on the simple complexities of a young female cop whose married life is in shambles, but whose passion and dedication toward her profession continues to remain strong.

And while “Soni” could have succumbed to exaggerations and unnecessary dramatic turns, Ayr stops himself short of falling into this trap.

That doesn’t mean the movie is not flawed in any way. The protagonist has a mercurial temper and is not forgiving. When her estranged husband arrives home to surprise her, Soni is cold, distant and hostile even as he begs her for a second chance.

Outside the home, her temper gets her into a slew of troubles. In one of the early scenes of the film, as she cycles through Delhi on a cold night, she is harassed by a man. Something snaps in her, and, in a fit of rage, she unleashes her wrath on him, eventually landing him in hospital. The incident puts Kalpana to shame, forcing her to question whether Soni needed to “have hit him so hard that he had to be rushed to hospital.”

Ayr walks us through several such confrontationist situations, where Kalpana is at her wit’s end trying to help Soni curb her temper.

But even that does little to temper the film — while it has its emotional high points, it runs a mostly placid course otherwise.


Elton John signs with Universal ‘for the rest of his career’

Updated 22 September 2018
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Elton John signs with Universal ‘for the rest of his career’

LONDON: Elton John has signed a deal with Universal Music Group for his back catalogue and any new work as well as brand management, merchandising and licensing rights, the company said on Friday.
Under the agreement signed with John’s company Rocket Entertainment, Universal Music Group (UMG) will represent the veteran British singer’s new music “for the rest of his career” on top of his work from the last 50 years.
“The multi-faceted agreement marks the beginning of a new era of expanded collaboration between Elton John and UMG and significantly expands their global business partnership,” the company said in a statement.
The agreement covers publishing rights to John’s “iconic song writing catalogue to be administrated by Universal Music Publishing Group long into the future.”
The group’s brand-management company Bravado will work with Rocket on merchandising, branding and retail licensing around the singer’s three-year final world tour, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road.”
No financial details of the deal were given.
The 71-year-old kicked off the tour in the United States this month. John, who has two children with husband David Furnish, has said he wanted to stop traveling to focus on family life.