There are some movies that try to be different but fail to be so because the people behind it do not have the know-how of filmmaking. And, Soan Papdi belongs in this category — films that start out as passion projects but finally end up as something resembling vanity projects on account how badly they are made.
The long-drawn out plot (the film is a test of patience even while clocking less than two hours) involves Shiva, a computer engineer, who gets engaged to Aarthy. Their romance and 'dating' happen, rather refreshingly, in the traditional way — it is a match fixed by their parents and refreshingly, each finds the other attractive. We are introduced to Shiva's friends, each with his own quirks — one is a married man, another is an unemployed graduate who will only accept a job in the US and the third is a javelin thrower who has a real shot at being selected for the Olympics. One day, Shiva and Aarthy, who have gone shopping with these friends, return to their car only to find a little boy inside. He says his name is Sahil but doesn't seem to know the way home. Meanwhile, a mysterious caller tells Shiva that he has kidnapped his friends and if he wished to see them alive, he should bring Sahil to him. What does the boy have to do with gangsters?
This might seem like a decent plot on paper, but an air of amateurishness pervades Soan Papdi that it is hard for us to not mind the poor writing or the ineffectual filmmaking. The storytelling is naive (the romantic portions are so cringe-worthy) and there are some ridiculous twists (let's just say no one in India would go to the extent of kidnapping and fraud for what we are told is the reason behind the crimes) that provide unintended laughs. When Shiva and Aarthy find Sahil, they do not contemplate the prospect of taking him to a police station like sensible people and instead take him out shopping, order pizzas and chase him around a swimming pool. This, even after they realize that the boy is not sure of the address to his house! Then, once the gangster calls, Shiva just walks into his den along with his lover, whom he doesn't even think could become collateral damage. And we get one of the most incompetent gang of kidnappers, who just leave their place unguarded and do not even confiscate the keys of the people they have kidnapped allowing them to easily get away from the place.
There are a couple of instances that indicate that some thought has gone into the project — like, when we are told the reason for Shiva being late during an earlier scene or when his computer education comes in handy to solve the crime and save his friend. We can see that there is sincerity in the attempt but then, is that alone enough?