It's certainly a tough task to write, act and direct a film at the same time and Sartaj Singh Pannu has done it with SOCH LO. It has already received accolades at various international venues.
The start sets the expectations really high. The very first scene of the film shows a shirtless, wounded man lay in desert. He wakes up only to realize that he's lost his memory. To survive, he resorts to robbing solitary car drivers traversing on the highway. He finds an abandoned shed nearby as his temporary abode, where three troubled travelers, Harry (Himanshu Kohli), Toto and Pali (Barkha Madan) chance upon him. They take the unidentified man (calling him baba) to their hometown. He makes a deal with Harry that he will fight for their property taken by local goons and in return, Harry would help him find his identity. When Harry is of no use, Pali steps in. Together they begin a long odyssey to solve Baba's mystery.
Baba gets flashes of his honeymoon with his wife Riva (Iris Maity), her sudden disappearance and him getting beaten. Will he get to wife is what ensues. Sartaj doesn't waste much time and gets along with the story. You are intrigued by what really happened to Baba and Riva. At times one feels the urge to know what exactly has happened in the past.
The scene in the dhaba with Baba narrating his story to eve teasers is intimidating and novel. But SOCH LO does have its share of flimsy scenes and dialogues. An elderly person says, 'Baba ki madad nahin ki to main puri umar guilty mehsus karta rahunga' which makes you laugh unintentionally. Also, Basu (Nishan Nanaiah) says after removing Riva's mehendi, 'Now you look unmarried and more beautiful,' leaving you flabbergasted.
The climax is without a doubt enthralling. However, at the end of it you wonder what the film was trying to say. Riva is bemused all the while without taking any sides till the very end. Also, the relationship between Baba and Pali is ambiguous.
Sandeep Patil's cinematography is outstanding making the deserts of Rajasthan look great. Music by Charu Mohan and Nitish Pires strikes the right notes. Wish the script by Sartaj Singh Pannu was much tighter.
Sartaj Singh Pannu makes a very confident debut giving no hint of a newcomer. The actor Sataj is certainly better than the storyteller and director Sartaj. Barkha Madan is good too. Iris Maity needs to hone on her acting capabilities.
This debut venture of Sartaj Singh Pannu could have been better if the script was tighter. SOCH LO leaves you thinking about many unfinished things. It is shades better than many half cooked potboilers.