Sonchidi (The Golden Bird) is a 2011 Hindi film directed by Amit Dutta. This experimental film was screened at the 68th Venice Film Festival and was hailed as  “truly cinematic, a connoisseurs’ piece”.

Sonchidi Poster

Sonchidi Poster

Cast

  • Nitin Goel
  • Gagan Singh Sethi

Crew

  • Direction ————— Amit Dutta
  • Production ———— Prnav Ashar
  • Story ——————– Amit Dutta
  • Cinematography —— Prahlad Gopakumar

Story

Sonchidi is the story of two childhood friends who are no co-travelers, visiting their village, and reconciling with the memories of their childhood. They are in search of a flying craft made by a mad engineer which one of them recollects from the past. The travellers believe that if they are able to find the craft, it will carry them beyond the cycle of life and death. On their way to find this machine, they record their memories, dreams and fears in a sound recorder and a notebook.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Commentary

Sonchidi is a strange film and a very original one at that; being an experimental sort of film, it can be a different experience and a little difficult to understand even for those who considered themselves well versed with Indian parallel cinema. The film is highly complex, deep and multi-layered, open to multiple interpretations.

The film is essentially a travelogue, of a trip made in search of another voyage which makes one free from the cycle of life and death. In its essence, the film is deeply philosophical, deeply influenced by  the Indian philosophy of moksha. The narrative is abstract and asynchronous and leaves the story telling to the sights, sounds and experience than relying on a set script. There is a lot of introspection, self-doubt, questioning the established and exploring the unknown which goes one while the two travelers try to find out the flying ship.

A very important aspect of the film is its cinematography. The camerawork by Prahlad Gopakumar is a revelation, compelling the viewer to move along with the camera and absorb the sights and sounds as the two travelers do.

Sonchidi brings fond memories of the stalwarts of Indian Art Cinema like Mani Kaul and Kamal Swaroop. While one may not be assured to understand or like the film, it is still a must watch for someone who wants to witness Indian Cinema evolving and rediscovering itself.

Awards

  • Screened at the 68th Venice Film Festival (2012)

Trivia

  • In the 68th Venice Film Festival, Sonchidi was showcased under “new trends in world cinema”.
  • The film was shot mostly with a crew of five members, including the protagonists, on a limited budget.

Reference

Video

Sonchidi is available for free and legal viewing here