Surrey resident Inderveer Sodhi (third from left) and other actors in a scene from “Monster,” a movie that Sodhi wrote and directed.

Surrey filmmaker creates ‘Monster’ movie about gang life in the city

Fleetwood resident Inderveer Sodhi wrote, directed and stars in his coming-of-age fictional drama

As Surrey continues to deal with gang crime and related gunfire, one local filmmaker has created a movie that offers an empathetic view of one young man who struggles in a life of violence.

Inderveer Sodhi doesn’t glorify gangster life in Monster, his directorial debut, and it’s not an action flick.

Instead, he tells the story of how a boy becomes a man, and how his relationships change with his mother, friends and others.

The set-in-Surrey Monster stars Sodhi as Harman, who is shown at age 10, 18 and 20.

Harman’s relationship with his mom is driven by Sodhi’s own story, but all other characters in the fictional drama are a composite of people he knew growing up and those he saw on the news.

Sodhi also wrote the script and created the music for Monster, which debuted at Guildford’s Landmark Cinemas with two screenings in October.

The film was also shown at the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival, held at Surrey City Hall’s Centre Stage theatre from Nov. 14 to 17.

Sodhi, who lives in the Fleetwood area, is elated by the positive response to his feature film.

“The premiere at the Landmark theatre, it went insanely well, and both shows sold out in a minute,” he said.

“There were so many challenges and things going against the making of this film, so then to see the reaction it’s had, it’s amazing and very motivating to me, and gives me a lot of confidence to make my next film.”

(WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW INCLUDES COARSE LANGUAGE)

In the spring of 2018, Sodhi set out to make a movie that captured “the ongoing gang violence scene among Indo-Canadian teenagers here in Surrey,” he told the Now-Leader at the time.

“I believe this is a socially-relevant story and a burning cause that our community should be aware about,” Sodhi continued. “Often throughout the years, many filmmakers have attempted to tell these stories but unfortunately do not do justice to the South Asian culture, representing the city accurately and, worst of all, glamorize the violence.”

A fundraising effort was launched on Indiegogo, and the release of the movie was planned for the fall of 2019.

The total budget was around $4,000, said Sodhi, who is 21.

“The film is made by me and people around my age, about 30 of us,” he noted. “Everybody volunteered time to put this together.”

He leads an ensemble cast of 14 actors in an 81-minute movie that features both English and Punjabi languages, with some subtitles.

A description of the film on imdb.com offers this: “After losing his innocence, his best friend, and the love of his adolescence, this coming-of-age gangster drama follows Harman in an hour of his night within a new life of violence,” and the website also shows 159 behind-the-scenes photos.

Sodhi says many people caught in up in gang life have as close of a relationship with their mothers as he does, and that was part of his inspiration to create Monster.

“I didn’t want to make a documentary,” he told CBC Vancouver in a recent interview, “I wanted to create something where people could see themselves in the characters and reflect and think, ‘You know what, if something had happened just slightly different with me, I could have been that’ or, ‘That could have happened to me.’”

Sodhi said another screening of Monster is planned at the Landmark Cinema in Guildford on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m., and that his film will stream on Amazon Prime by the end of that month.

The trailer for Monster is posted to inderveersodhi.com., along with several other videos about Sodhi, the making of the movie and related music.

“It’s been an insane journey,” an emotional Sodhi told the audience before the Oct. 17 premiere of the film in Guildford.

“I just want to thank God for this moment because it’s really, really unreal to have your film playing in a theatre with this crowd, and to have sold out the shows in under a minute, for both shows – thank you, to the universe, for that.

Sodhi continued.

“You know what’s very interesting is that I didn’t think that it was really possible to get to be here right now, with the situation that I was in, with just being 21, self-funded the project, all the people that were involved with this were involved on a volunteer basis, so that’s a huge deal. This was a community project and (everyone) spent days and nights for six months last summer, rehearsing, and it started off as an idea, and that idea was put onto paper in a week – I wrote the script in a week. My next script will take me seven months, so it’s almost like this project had to be done, it was meant to be for this year, in this time period, with these people.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Urban Safari Rescue Society starts online video presentations

Animal shelter struggling to stay afloat during pandemic

White Rock’s promenade to close to the public

Public access to popular waterfront walkway closing April 10: city

Young Muslims offer helping hand to isolated residents throughout Lower Mainland

Neighbourhood Helper campaign aims to get help to people who can’t leave their homes

Christopherson Steps, 1,001 Steps closed due to COVID-19

Access restricted to Crescent Beach over Easter weekend, City of Surrey announces

SIMPSON: In taking care of its vulnerable, Surrey is showing what it’s made of

Stories about people helping others have overwhelmed the newsroom since COVID-19 hit community

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read