Sonata Movie Review: Shabana Azmi’s Presence Brightens Aparna Sen’s Film


The most obvious gripe regarding Aparna Sen’s Sonata, an English-language chamber drama that unfolds in a single living room in the span of a few hours, would relate to its cinematic sparseness. Adapted from the play of the same title by Mahesh Elkunchwar, the film is never far away from tripping on its cramped stagey-ness. But there is so much to like in Sonata that it isn’t difficult at all to ignore some of the film’s failings and focus on its brighter sides. Nothing is brighter in this film than the presence of Shabana Azmi, who uses the limited physical space of the set to produce an air of free-spirited abandonment that plays off perfectly well against strait-lacedness of the professorial character played by the director.

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