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Wanted Love Sonia to be most realistic movie about trafficking: Director Tabrez Noorani in making video

Co-producer David Womark, production designer Ravi Srivastava, costume designer Shahid Amir and cinematographer Lukasz Bielan share their experiences of working towards achieving authenticity in the film.

Mayur Lookhar

Tabrez Noorani's hard-hitting film on human trafficking, Love Sonia, has received critical acclaim across the globe. Apart from its bone-chilling story and screenplay, what has struck about the film is the dark world that Noorani and his team has created. The film stands out for its dark authentic sets, costumes, make-up and cinematography. 

The film has recieved some rave review for the authentic portrayal of brothels. The makers have released the making video that shows how the entire team contributed in creating the dark world. 

Director Noorani was pretty clear with one thing. “I wanted Love Sonia to be the most realistic movie about trafficking ever made," he said. The team did its homework and visited the shady lanes of Kamathipura, Grant Road in Mumbai. 

Love Sonia review: Does mankind have the stomach to digest this bitter truth? 

“Walking through the real brothels, gave us the information we needed for the movie, but it was a strong reminder of how difficult some people’s situations are," said co-producer David Womark, who is seen walking through Kamathipura in the making video. Noorani, too, visited the place. “Everything is based on the places that I have visited, I have seen, Ravi [Srivastava, production designer] has seen.” 

With the director and the producers wanting authenticity to their sets, it was quite a task for the production designer to get his team to fulfil the vision of Noorani and Womark. "Keeping in mind the realistic approach, I wanted to make it look as if it’s lived in,” Srivastava said in the video. 

However, getting the look of the brothel right was not enough, the team tirelessly worked towards getting the looks of the sex workers right, too. Make-up and hair-designer Virginia Holmes, got Riya Sisodia and Mrunal Thakur to look like the minors Preeti and Sonia, respectively, who are trapped in his vicious trade. Costume designer Shahid Amir contributed by designing the costumes. “I think we achieved the look very real, and yet quite pleasing to the eye,” Amir said. 

Holmes, Amir and Srivastava gave the requite tools to Noorani in terms of the set, make-up and costumes, and then it was international cinematographer Lukasz Bielan's job to combine and capture this dark setting. “Brothels over there [in India] are also places, where these women live. So they make it home in a way. They try to feel that it is something that belongs to them, and a lot of it has to do with the life they put out – the little posters, the little pictures... But mostly we try to keep it as much real as possible,” Bielan said. 

Having travelled across various film festivals, like Indian Film Festival of Melbourne and London Indian Film Festival, Love Sonia released in India on 14 September.

Watch the behind the scene video below: