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Sold movie review: Prerana Agarwal makes solid directorial debut with film on child trafficking

The film, starrring Kavya Shetty, Deepam Kohli and Danish Sait, among others, is currently streaming on Voot Select

  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 06.04 AM, Apr 30, 2022

Sold movie review: Prerana Agarwal makes solid directorial debut with film on child trafficking
Shivani in a still from the film

Story: When investigative journalist Ruchita Rao’s (Kavya Shetty) friend’s daughter Rashmi becomes a victim of a human trafficking ring, she joins hands with estranged husband and police man, Siddarth (Danish Sait) to track down the child and, hopefully, bust the gang as well.

Review: When debutante director Prerana Agarwal’s Sold released in theatres in early March, like many other Kannada films struggling to find enough screens, hers did too, which, looking back now, is rather unfortunate, considering that she’s made a fairly solid debut with a hard-hitting subject.

Human trafficking, especially that involving children, can be a tad uncomfortable to talk about, but there’s no denying the existence of this vicious circle. The sheer number of children working in factories, restaurants, begging at busy intersections or being employed as house-helps, etc., is testimony to the demand and supply for cheap labour that is made possible because of these rackets. Prostitution rackets also thrive on ‘young and fresh’, making little girls particularly vulnerable.

Although the focus of Prerana’s film is the kidnapping of a young girl for an international prostitution ring, it is just as much about the scores of children who either intentionally run away from abusive homes or are duped into a life on the street in the hope of a better tomorrow. The film’s serious approach ensures that despite the kidnapping, there’s no melodrama involving the parents, and pretty much sticks to the plot.

What was also refreshing was that when Ruchita says that she knows to take care of herself, even when she puts herself in a potentially dangerous situation, she has the presence of mind to whip out pepper spray and deter her assailants and isn’t the damsel-in-distress we so often see in commercial cinema. Danish, as the police officer Siddarth, who has been looking into the illegal activities of the group suspected of being involved in the kidnapping, has little to do, but his approach is more realistic, nothing too bombastic and within the framework of the law, although ferrying an investigative journalist to a potential scene of crime in an official vehicle, may not be playing by the rulebook.

Sold, is a fairly decently made film, within its budgetary constraints. The cast, including young Shivani, is earnest. Even Deepam Kohli, who has produced the film, tries his best as the son of the kingpin of the operation who is not comfortable with the ‘anything for money’ approach his father has. The film has an A certification, primarily for some of the language used, but that’s in keeping with the setting at most times, like, for instance, in a brothel. Th film never makes you squirm in your seat uncomfortably with its treatment of the subject. It does in reminding us of the existence of that segment of society – one that, unfortunately, continues to thrive.

Verdict: Prerana Agarwal deserves a pat on the back for her choice of directorial debut. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid start and one hopes that she gets better and bigger avenues for her forthcoming projects.

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