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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Lootera and Dahaad: Sonakshi Sinha’s top two performances to watch on her 36th birthday

Vikramaditya Motwane’s 2013 film Lootera and Reema Kagti’s web series Dahaad are streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Ratnalekha Mazumdar Calcutta Published 02.06.23, 01:10 PM
Sonakshi Sinha in a still from Lootera (left) and Dahaad.

Sonakshi Sinha in a still from Lootera (left) and Dahaad. IMDb, Instagram

With the Amazon Prime Video series Dahaad, Sonakshi Sinha has reminded us once again — after Vikramaditya Motwane’s 2013 film Lootera — how her talent has largely gone underutilised. On Sonakshi’s 36th birthday, we go back to her two shining acts, set a decade apart, where Shatrughan Sinha’s daughter is the soul of both the film and the web series.

The subdued Pakhi in Vikramaditya Motwane’s feature film Lootera (2013)

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Known as the Dabaang girl, Sonakshi Sinha broke out of Salman Khan’s-arm-candy image with Pakhi in Vikramaditya Motwane’s cinematic world of Lootera. Pakhi belongs to an affluent Bengali Zamindar family in Manikpur, a fictional town in remote Bengal. Soft-spoken and subdued, she’s inclined towards the fine arts and literature, and aspires to become a writer.

Pakhi’s everyday world turns around when conman Varun (Ranveer Singh) visits her house, posing as an archaeologist, and she begins to fall in love with him. When Varun’s betrayal and real identity comes to the fore, Pakhi is shattered and shaken to the core.

Sonakshi imbues Pakhi’s heartbreak with dignity and silence, her eyes conveying a bottomless melancholy and loneliness while hiding the anger that’s wrecking her from within. Pakhi’s literary efforts also comes to a halt and Sonakshi deftly portrays the struggle to translate her pain into words but getting overcome by grief instead.

Later, when Varun runs into Pakhi in her summer house in Dalhousie, and they get another chance at coming closer, Sonakshi delivers a restrained performance, doing a tight rope walk between mistrust and hope. Lootera is also streaming on Prime Video.

The driven cop Anjali Bhaati in Zoya Akhtar-Reema Kagti’s web series Dahaad (2023)

As the highly driven sub-inspector Anjali Bhaati, Sonakshi is the beating heart of this eight-part crime drama thriller streaming on Prime Video.

While Sonakshi has showed off her action chops before — remember Akira and Force 2 — slipping into the police uniform as Anjali Bhaati has been a completely different ball game. Anjali has two interlinked odds to fight at every step — having been born to low caste and being a woman in a male-dominated workforce — in a small town in Rajasthan where girls from financially weak households like hers are anyway exposed to exploitation.

When tasked with investigating the disappearance of a number of girls from such backgrounds, Anjali keeps digging deeper to get to the truth.

Sonakshi embraces all these aspects of Anjali, bringing in the right mix of grit, toughness and sensitivity in the web show directed by Reema Kagti and Ruchika Oberoi. The actress’s credit also lies in using her personality to come across as formidable at her workplace while reminding the audience of her vulnerable side at all times.

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