Cannes and Sundance International film festival rejects 'Love Sonia'
David Womark well-known for his previous, Life of Pie, highlights the exploitation women face in the transnational sex trade through "Love Sonia".
Europe's largest South Asian film event, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, opened on Thursday night with the world premiere of Tabrez Noorani's Love Sonia. Its producer David Womark says the movie is a poignant and timely reminder of the exploitation women face in the transnational sex trade.
The film, starring Demi Moore, Richa Chadha, Frieda Pinto, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao and Sai Tamhankar among others, highlights the exploitation of young women in global sex trafficking.
Love Sonia features the struggle of a teenager, played by Mrunal Thakur, to try to rescue her younger sister from Mumbai's sex industry, but in the process she finds herself trapped in the trade.
Thakur, in her debut, is quite impressive and holds her own in the presence of much more experienced actors. Manoj plays the ruthless head of a brothel who runs it as pure business.
Many films on this theme have been made in India, but Love Sonia goes a step further by projecting a more dangerous and international dimension of the sex trafficking.
After the screening, Richa said it was quite educational to play a woman who exploits other women. But her character later kills herself to help Sonia runaway who is then rescued.
Womark says, "Love Sonia was surprisingly rejected by leading international film festivals like Cannes and Sundance."
He adds, "the film, which comes at the time of the global 'Me Too' movement, is a powerful reminder of the exploitation of young women in the transnational sex trade." He suggested that the film might have been accepted at other major festivals had the director and producers been women. But he was glad that it had its world premiere at the London Indian Film Festival.
The film will release in India in September.
Its premiere was also attended by the film's executive producer Pravesh Sahni, co-producer Amar Butala, sound mixer Resul Pookutty, writer Alkesh Vaja, composer Niels Bye Nielsen, editor Martin Singer, production designer Ravi Srivastav; make-up artist Virginia Holmes and co-producer Nadim George.