By Kieran Guilbert. LONDON Thomson Reuters Foundation - Despite a star cast, strong reviews and awards, a gritty movie about human trafficking bombed at the Indian box office and its director said sex slavery was a taboo too far for the public. The movie had proved tough to fund but opened in India in September after snaring awards on the global festival circuit. The film has grossed about Actress Richa Chadha said she hoped the poor box office showing would not deter filmmakers in India from being as bold.
Love Sonia review – flawed but powerful sex-trafficking drama
Stars defend Indian sex slavery film 'Love Sonia' after box office flop | Reuters
T his nightmarish Indian sex-trafficking drama about a village girl sold into modern slavery is told with passion and urgency by Tabrez Noorani, a producer on Lion and Slumdog Millionaire making his directing debut. Love Sonia has the glossy production values of those movies, but Noorani is going for something harder-hitting here, inspired by the true story of an Indian girl found in a container ship in California. It is powerful filmmaking, but I found questionable the packaging of sexual violence with the uplifting notes of mainstream entertainment. Mrunal Thakur gives a performance of quiet intensity as Sonia, a shy year-old whose father sells her sister Preeti Riya Sisodiya to clear his debts. Their dad goes along with the sham but his face betrays him: he knows the truth.
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It is not an easy watch but compelling. Sonia and her sister are quite close — the older one is pretty and then dad does the inevitable — which is to sell his daughter to the local landowner, who then traffics her to the big city on the pretext that she will get a good job as a maid. The language is very strong in parts and some scenes are hard to watch and stomach.
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