“Soch Lo” (Think About It) marks a promising if uneven debut from actor-writer-director Sartaj Singh Pannu. As a filmmaker, he whips up moments of raw emotional impact and makes expressive use of stark desert vistas and verdant unspoiled countryside, but he can’t always restrain his narrative from veering into sheer improbability.
Pannu stars as Baba, a man who’s been left for dead in the desert but is rescued by a group of passersby. Although he’s suffering from amnesia, he recalls being savagely attacked on the beach while on his honeymoon with his exquisite, shy well-born bride Riva (Iris Maity), who agreed to an arranged marriage to him apparently to escape a secret, tempestuous affair with Basu (Nishan Nanaiah). It soon becomes clear that Basu has kidnapped Riva, and Baba, although he still doesn’t know his own identity, is determined to track her down and rescue her.
The action in the film gets bogged down, though, when Pannu turns his attention to the plight of the family of one of Baba’s rescuers — the digression allows him to comment on the blight of corruption and drug trafficking in rural India (shades of “Winter’s Bone”) and also on lingering class discrimination in the nation, but the subplot proves needlessly complicated and hard to follow.
Still, there are enough riveting moments in “Soch Lo” to inspire hope that Pannu, a charismatic actor, can bring more coherence to his next picture.
“Soch Lo” (Think About It). MPAA rating: unrated. In Hindi with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours. At the Big Cinema, Norwalk.