Most cinematic exports from India are less of the Bollywood style and more of the Hindu crime drama. This genre, which is already an established archetype in the country, is imbued with realism that reflects upon the society. But working in a mainstream genre has a limited time before the style becomes banal – unless, that is, narratives remain relevant to contemporary culture.
Sunrise follows Detective Joshi in pursuit of a group of criminals engaged in the trafficking of young girls. The setting’s shadows and continual downpour only add mystery to the already murky case. For Joshi, just as the the criminals are about to be apprehended, their shadow disappears – or, possibly, these people are just ghosts from the past, haunting the detective.
At the conclusion, a subtitle reads that over 100,000 children are abducted each year from India. This number is at an epidemic height and the reason a socially-conscious film like Sunrise is necessary to address the concern, yet it manages not to lecture. With calculating grace, via seedy clubs and deserted homes, the unfortunate reality of human trafficking in India is firmly established through individual experience.
This is not only a bold film in objective: the use of shadow, deeply dark imagery, and murky storyline ostensibly aim for an art-house audience. At the conclusion, however, these stylistics prove useful ancillary powers to a mainstream narrative (mainstream at least relative to Western audiences).
Sunrise accomplishes success in both story and presentation. The overriding ambiguity drives the film and also serves as useful reflection on Indian society. If there is any movement to renew the power of Hindi crime-drama and international thriller, Sunrise is worthy start.
Sunrise does not yet have a UK release date.
Watch the trailer for Sunrise here: