Something strange has been happening to Abhishek Chaubey’s Sonchiriya, since the film’s release on Friday. Many audience members in Kolkata and Bengaluru came out a little confused, after hearing the dubbed Hindi dialogues that didn’t sit particularly well with the cast’s lip-movements. The ‘original film’, playing in the rest of the country, showcases the actors’ original dub in Bundelkhandi with English subtitles. Many including the film’s lead actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, didn’t have any information about this lapse/step on the part of the producers.
PLease Read This. _
Sushant Singh Rajput _____ pic.twitter.com/H6nX2mwcmg
— Sushant Singh Rajput (@itsSSR) March 3, 2019
Rajput, who plays Lakhna Singh in the film, took to all his social media handles to clarify that he (and none of his senior colleagues from the cast) had dubbed the film in Hindi, to make it (presumably) more accessible to certain sections of the audience. He mentioned that it was heartbreaking to hear from audience members, how his ‘labour of love’ had been ‘corrupted’ by replacing the original dialect. Chaubey’s Sonchiriya is one of the few Hindi films that doesn’t compromise on its usage of the local lingo, lending an authentic and humorous flavour to the film. All actors from Rajput, Pednekar to Shorey spoke about the preparation that went into getting the Bundelkhandi dialect to roll off their tongues.
Repeated attempts to contact the representatives at Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP (producers of Sonchiriya) proved futile, while the film’s PR seemed clueless about the problem. This is either a major lapse on the part of RSVP, which has allowed for these faked-dubbed versions of the film to make their way to two different cities. Or one could also infer that this is the doing of the producers, to make the film more ‘palatable’ for the mainstream non-Hindi speaking audiences. And if this is true, then it is unprofessional on the part of the producers to do this by keeping the director and the film’s principal cast in the dark.
Why @RonnieScrewvala planned limited release of #Sonchiriya
Was he not very confident of this film? We can understand his hesitation and myopic decision. Remember releases of @AWednesday and #PaanSinghTomar
— MrB (@brahmatmajay) March 3, 2019
If the second hypothesis is indeed true, and that RSVP knowingly did this, then it is reminiscent of how Aanand L Rai’s Colour Yellow, cut a few scenes from Manmarziyaan, to save the film from becoming a commercial failure during its opening weekend. Even then, director Anurag Kashyap and actor Taapsee Pannu spoke out against this unethical-but-legal practise on the part of the producers. RSVP hasn’t responded to any of the comments or issued any clarifications for nearly 24 hours, indicating that they knew about the dubbed versions playing in the aforementioned cities.
In spite of its A-list cast and the director’s successful track record, Sonchiriya got only a fraction of the screens compared to Kartik Aaryan & Kriti Sanon’s Luka Chuppi. Which warrants the question if the producers made peace with the film’s box office failure even before it released. The film has done an appalling business of Rs 2.5 crore in the first two days, compared to Luka Chuppi‘s Rs 18 crore. Either way, the release is absolutely unfair on the fans of the film in Kolkata and Bengaluru, who were robbed off a film where the dialogues heavily contribute to its humour and its haunting themes. Intentional or not, RSVP has a lot to answer for, after a lapse like this.