Much has been said, shouted and yelled about the riots every where. Gujarat riots aren’t different. Although ‘Parzania’ did speak a lot about what happened in Gujarat, Firaaq is an attempt one feels like standing up and applauding. I have not revealed much in the review

The story

Set against a month after the Gujarat riots, the film revolves neatly around a set of characters, a musician/singer and his faithful servant, a Hindu wife and her Muslim husband, a poor Muslim couple, a Gujarati Hindu family, an absolutely adorable Muslim kid and a set of Muslim friends who are hell bent on taking revenge against the atrocities they have faced. The emphasis is not on discovering what happens. Rather, the story emphasizes on experiencing the aftermath of what happened.

The actors

Everyone has given exemplary performance. Naseer saab, Raghuvir Yadav, Shahana Goswami, Sanjay Suri, Tisca Chopra, Paresh Rawal, Deepti Nawal, Mohammad Samad (the little boy) and all the character artistes. Special mention of Deepti Nawal and Shahana here. I really wish I could tell you more but I cannot, because I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone. The kid is amazing to say the least. You will try to reach out to him even when you know it is just a movie (but then again, the movie says it’s based on a thousand real stories…)

The music

Haunting background music at times is very hard to recognise because the narrative is so captivating that the viewer is bound to think there is no background music at all! Try to catch the small Raga rendition (in the voice of Jagjit singh) by the musician/singer (Okay I give that away, this part is enacted superbly by Naseer saab!). I will buy the music of this movie for sure by the way.

The direction and screenplay and all the other technicalities which I don’t understand but I feel I am wise enough to comment upon:

You almost jump out of your seat when you are shown a hindu housewife checking her door again and again to see if the same Muslim lady is knocking her door who came during the riots and begged to be saved. The ‘punishment’ which is self inflicted (for not opening the door and saving the Muslim lady) almost makes you bite your lips and feel for the poor woman who is tied in a meaningless marriage with a true blue anti-muslim husband.

You are bound to become uncomfortable when you see a ‘family man’ asking his relative whether he enjoyed gang-raping a Muslim lady?

The narrative is quite slick albeit it gives way for creating impact by slowing down at times. But then that is what the reality is. In real life, an innocent human being, when chased by a police man with malicious intent has to run for his life in by lanes and you have to see it to believe it even if the chase is long and it is shown that way (also see what happens to the innocent guy at the end of the chase). One has to go through the trauma at times simply because of her/his sect, thanks to the amazing political leaders we have in our country.

The manner in which a Muslim husband to a hindu girl (played by Sanjay Suri) tries to come to terms with his fears could give you a sense of Deja-Vu but it has been done superbly and presented well.

The entire part of Sahana goswami’s story I felt was handled brilliantly. Best of the best friends tend to doubt each other in circumstances that are far beyond their own control. I loved the way this part ended.

To conclude

Showing a truck full of dead bodies as a first shot of her movie, Nandita das conveyed that this movie isn’t for the faint hearted, pink loving junta. No words are minced and the message is delivered in all its originality. Thumbs up to everyone involved!

Watch it if films mean more than just another form of entertainment for you…

Please rate and leave comments on my review

Peace and equanimity (much needed)