SANTOSH

A film by SANDHYA SURI

Cast : Shahanna Goswam, Sunita Rajwar

Neo-noir. thriller / India, France, UK, Germany / original title : SANTOSH / Color / status : completed / Hindi / long feature-film

A government scheme sees newly widowed Santosh inherit her husband’s job as a police constable in the rural badlands of Northern India. When a low-caste girl is murdered, Santosh is pulled into the investigation by charismatic feminist inspector Sharma.

In this crime story an ordinary woman moves from housewife to policewoman in one of the nation’s most corrupt forces. As she investigates, she begins to experiment with her newly found power within a web of misogyny, casteism and prejudice.

Press

“A masterclass in subtlety. Speaks volumes — without saying too much. A mesmerizing story, which doesn't tell you what to think but what to think about. It’s in society’s subtle machinations and mediations, that Santosh thrives. Goswami’s Santosh is more relatable than any glamorous heroine, an ordinary woman whose newfound grief and solitude intertwine with incremental recognition of life’s daily evils. It’s a skillful turn and she carries the film with ease. Goswami and Rajwar are magnetic together.”

INDIEWIRE

“A gripping, sinewy, probing Indian police procedural. A terrific, propulsive neo-noir that holds up a mirror to contemporary India. A crisply-executed crime picture that negotiates its hot-button themes with intelligence and a refreshing lack of sensationalism. It could generate a flurry of interest among buyers. There’s a watchful quality in Goswami, a sense of a formidable intellect behind a quiet demeanour, that works supremely well in her performance as Santosh. There’s a knotty complexity to the relationship between the two women, something that Rajwar mines superbly with her charismatic but unreadable performance.”

SCREEN

“A dramatic inquiry into images of Indian policing. Whip-smart. Intellectually stimulating, lays bare the dark heart of communal divisions in modern India. While the movie speaks the language of a fiercely feminist empowerment saga, it also zeroes in on what power actually means in a highly stratified society when a murky crime leads to the incendiary unfurling of dimensions of religion and caste.”

VARIETY

“An impressive crime-drama. Suri’s work as a director and especially a screenwriter is so smooth and deft that it reminds us of the medium’s special facility to show the gradual unveiling of corruption, recalling pessimistic 1970s work like Serpico and Chinatown. A timely piece of alternative Indian cinema.”

CINEUROPA

“This terrific slowburn feminist drama is the non-Hollywoodised Training Day, a gripping and powerful procedural. Sharp-edged.”

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