Soni is a 2018 Indian Hindi-language crime drama film directed by Ivan Ayr. Produced by Kimsi Singh and Kartikeya Narayan Singh, the film stars Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra in the lead roles. It was written by Ayr and Kislay and chronicles the life of police officer Soni (Ohlyan) and her superintendent in Delhi Police Kalpana (Batra), who deal with crimes against women in the city.
The idea for Soni occurred to Ayr in 2014 when he was reading that Delhi was being put under scrutiny for not being safe for women, especially after the 2012 gang rape case. Ayr read several articles and interviews about the Delhi police and was interested in woman officers’ reactions to cases of sexual violence. He spent time with several Delhi police personnel and observed their daily routine. Pre-production started in November 2016 and Ayr finished the script in January 2017 and the film was shot for 24 days in Delhi in February. David Bolen served as the director of photography while Ayr and Gurvinder Singh edited the film.
Soni premiered in the Orrizonti (Horizons) section of the 75th Venice International Film Festival, receiving a standing ovation. The film was also screened at the 2018 BFI London Film Festival, the 2018 MAMI Film Festival, and the Pingyao International Film Festival, where it won the Best Film award and a cash prize of $20,000, half of which went to fund development of the director’s next project. The other half was provided to the film’s distributor in China. Ayr received a special mention for “Achievement in Directing” for the film at the 2018 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The film was released on 18 January 2019 on Netflix to critical acclaim with particular praise for its direction and the performances.
Soni is a police officer who, following her divorce, lives alone in Delhi. She is friends with senior superintendent Kalpana Ummat, who lives with her husband Sandeep, who is a high-ranking officer in the Delhi police. Soni’s ex-husband Naveen often visits her, trying to persuade her to rekindle their relationship but she is not interested.
One day, while on duty, Soni beats a street goon who tries to harass her. Kalpana reprimands Soni for her temperamental and impulsive behaviour, while also expressing concern about her safety. A day later at a check post, Soni again gets involved in an violent incident when she slaps a drunken navy officer who is driving without a licence and misbehaves with her.
The commissioner of police take disciplinary action against Soni for the check post incident. Kalpana tries to persuade Sandeep and her seniors against it, but Soni is transferred to the police control room and an inquiry is set up to look into the incident.
A few days later, Soni is brought back into the police after Kalpana’s intercession. The two later go to a restaurant to relax. Soni goes to the ladies washroom, which has been occupied by a group of young men who are consuming drugs. She gets into a fight with them and injures her hand before they are arrested. One of the men is found to be the son of a minister’s friend.
After the incident, Sandeep scolds Kalpana, holding her responsible for the fight. The arrested men are released immediately, while Soni is taken off duty and sent back to the control room.
Geetika Vidya Ohlyan as Soni
Saloni Batra as Kalpana Ummat
Vikas Shukla as Naveen
Mohit S. Chauhan as Sandeep