20081023

Firaaq - Updated w/video

Today was the opening night for SAIFF (South Asian International Film Festival) in New York. Just came back from the opening night and todays feature was a directorial debut feature film by Nandita Das - Firaaq....In Such Times.

"An urdu word meaning both separation and quest, Firaaq - is a movie set during the aftermath of the Gujarat Province riots in 2002, when Hindus and Muslims clashed: women were raped, and families slaughtered in a stunning replay of the partition. The film was made in Urdu, Gujarati and English. The director brings intensity to her characters’ plight, with sharp instinct for rooting out their hidden fears." - Source for the above statement


The movie left many speechless and introspective. Even though the movie is set post the Gujarat riots - it still has an international appeal as it talks more about the apathy of sufferers after the incident and not much about the incident itself. Infused with light comedic parts, on the whole it is a film about human relations, agony, separation and anguish caused by the stereotypical division between Hindus and Muslims.

Questions that were raised in the movie that makes one ponder deep and hard :
1) How tough is it to be a Muslim living among Hindu majority?
2) What is the fault as an innocent child - just that he is born in certain religion?
3) Can best friends from different religions still be friends after such a horrific incident? Do they think before inflicting terror on each other or does the mass hysteria take over their kinship?
4) How should a woman react - side with the males of her family even though she knows they have been part of the horrific incident inflicting trauma and physical abuse to other women of other religion or side with that affected women.
and many more such little questions brilliantly intertwined into the movie.
Am not going to reveal much as I do recommend all of you to see it. It is going to be released in early 2009.

After the movie there was a question and answer session with Nandita Das and Deepti Naval one of the actors in the movie. Some of the other starcast of the movie included veteran actors -Naseruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Sanjay Suri, Raghuvir Yadav and Tisca Chopra. Also the most compelling face of the movie is of the child artist - Shehmat Khan.
Answering to one of the questions from the audience -
Being that there is such deep rooted stereotyping in our society based on religion, will such riots ever stop?
Nandita gave a very interesting response. Paraphrasing from memory.
We are born with some givens - man/woman, nationality, religion - things that we dont have a choice of. These are identifiers that characterize our being and define our behaviour and general outlook to life. These cannot change.
But when these very basic identifiers are questioned or sometimes triggered we try to retaliate in order to gain back our self identity. This is the basis of why we love/hate a person and that cannot change or will not till we respect that others too can coexist.
Here is another blog link with a more detailed description of the movie - Lotus Reads


Next up is the world premier of Madhur Bhandarkars (Page3 and Traffic Signal fame) Fashion. Will write about it if I find it interesting.

__________________________________________________________________________________
Update:
Due to everyones positive comments - I did a bit more search and found this video. Will reply to the comments later in the day. - Thanks

68 comments:

Cinderella. said...

This sure sound like a very very interesting film !

And waise bhi I have always admired Nandita Das (aakhir oriya hai!). Her panache for doing the offbeat never misses a beat.

You seem to have a had a nice time.

aneri_masi said...

sounds like an interesting movie.

carolinagal said...

Thanks for this great review! Am looking forward to watching the movie.

A small comment on **We are born with some givens - man/woman, nationality, religion - things that we dont have a choice of**.

I don't agree with this entirely. Even though it might seem like one doesn't have a choice, I believe that one can ALWAYS choose to relinquish a religion and be part of another..

As for your Q # 4
**4) How should a woman react - side with the males of her family even though she knows they have been part of the horrific incident inflicting trauma and physical abuse to other women of other religion or side with that affected women**

I have often wondered about the same thing. Sometimes the hatred that these men have towards others is so much ingrained into the brains of their wives (mothers, sisters etc), that it is impossible for the them to distinguish between the right and wrong. I guess in such cases they must HAVE to think that what the men in their families are doing is RIGHT...how else can they cope?

τ ħ€ ĐάЎđяёάmёя said...

it's real gud piece...though i loved another good movie with the same theme but different backdrop

Ramchand Pakistani

it's also a beautiful piece made across the border...

seems like bollywood is sumhow getting matured...

Compassion Unlimitted said...

Its a tough call..A 10 year morotoium on any kind of conversion,and in the meantime if each religion attempts to put its house in order,may calm down tempers.
Easier said than done..but then expansionism is in basic human blood,whether its religion,territory or politics etc etc..so where is the solution ? looks eutopian !!
Its a sad sad sad world
Tc
CU

rantravereflect/ jane said...

:)
firaaq..
loved nandita's response :)
seems like ya have a great memory, cos if she said that once, and ya paraphrased it like that, with all those big words, KUDOS!

n yeah, tell us HOW FASHION fares!

bhaw said...

Wow I am a fan of nandita das and such great news she has turned a director!

By the way your comment on Mayz's Enchanted illusions totally rocked
:)

Grey said...

Will watch this movie ... your review convinced me .

mayz said...

sounds interestin!!!

Still thinking said...

I'll look forward to watching this movie - your writings really make it sound interesting.

I really loved Nandita's response, the answer feels so right.

brocasarea said...

thankss for the opinion..
this issue is damn serious....in the name of religion people promote violence....hope people realize it some day[not possible since politicians wont let it happen]

Deepali Panjabi said...

Haven't heard of this movie but it sounds interesting. Will catch it when it's out here.

Fashion is a movie a lot of people are waiting to watch (myself included). Just hoping the movie doesn't disappoint too much cause every new movie Madhur Bhandarkar is slightly worse than his previous movie.

sagarika said...

This ought to be something good.
Haven't heard of the movie,though.

Fashion?
I liked Page 3 and Traffic Signal..
I hope of it to be something worth-a-watch

Aaarti said...

Woww, u lucky bug!!! :)

Looks like an interesting movie..thanks..shall sure chk it out..

Been also hearing rave reviews abt Fashion...!! watch and let us know!!:)

humbl devil said...

cant wait to watch this one...
:)

Bhai with Chai said...

u've definitely sparked an interest thru the post.. looking forward to Firaaq..

•♥•♥[V]♥•♥• said...

can't wait till jan..will find a rip from net now.
thanx for the post..

tc

Ria said...

Sounds good. will definitely watch this movie. And Nandita looks pretty in the pic.

Suma said...

this seems worth waiting for...

nandita's response is apt...she's right ...what everyone is looking at is some kind of tolerance, and respect

Arunima said...

Nandita Das is no doubt a classic actor. Good that u updated us vid sum refreshing change.
I mus say u r lucky 2 attend such premieres.
;)

Joy said...

I really liked her answer. Seems like a must watch. Thanks for the review...

ceedy said...

@cinderella
Kewl so she is sister in arms - the oriya gal...

Nandita surprises every time and this time was no different....

Yeah had a good time....do watch it when you can.

ceedy said...

@aneri

It is a good movie and not a main stream one....so not many will appreciate it...

ceedy said...

@carolinagal

First of thanks....and glad I inspired you to see the movie...do watch it....

Well by the statement of givens - I think she meant and thats what the discussion was - is when you are fresh out of the oven (moms womb) - when you still dont have the capacity to choose - an innate quality that we are born with....are the givens....

like a stupid example - a gujju kid can choose any religion but he will still end up being business savvy...and when someone challenges this innate quality he will retaliate or show his prowess...

what you say is absolutly right....but that happens when you have the capability to discern the difference....

and the last part is well its a catch 22 - be a radical and fight for the world or simply ignore it for the sake of keeping ones family intact....

ceedy said...

@the daydreamer

Yes dude...I am watching Ramchand Pakistani on coming tuesday...will let you know....

This is not bollywood - this is parallel cinema...and has always been there - its just that media is now making us aware of it more and more...and I still say do watch this one when it comes out

ceedy said...

@compassion unlimited

Agree..completly...expanision is a basic human nature..the only way it can resolve is to have a bigger picture that its Humanity we are striving for now ME and my Surrondings...but as you said it is eutopian....

ceedy said...

@jane

kewl...I do tend to remember lot of crappy stuff - so this I had to remember as it was interesting....

will let you know about the faux pas in fashion and if there are any wardrobe malfunctions - as it is tonite

ceedy said...

@bhaw
welcome here and yes she has done a wonderful job...

glad you liked my comment there ;)

ceedy said...

@grey
good - let me know when you watch it

ceedy said...

@mayz

yes it is

Diana said...

Hiii first time to ur blog....

I am eagerly waiting to watch Nandita Das's directorial movies. This one seems interesting.

joiedevivre said...

hmm yeah waitin for d movie

Vinz aka Vinu said...

waiting for the movie..read somewhere else also...the plot u mentioned is very well capturing my thoughts..will definitely have to watch it..!!

its really difficult to portray the culture difference between muslims and hindu's...need to watch the movie to know how nandita has done that..she is brilliant, no doubt on that..so hoping for a great watch..!!

ceedy said...

@still thinking
Thanks and yes do see it....its interesting movie...

will keep you still thinking after its over ;)

ceedy said...

@brocasarea

Yes..it is a sensitive issue...!

ceedy said...

@deepali
Yes do watch Firaaq when you can...

I saw fashion and will post about it

ceedy said...

@sagarika
It is good...

and I will post about fashion saw the premiere yesterday

ceedy said...

@aaarti

thanks.....I saw fashion too...

ceedy said...

@humbl devil

:)

ceedy said...

@bhai with chai

Kewl....do see it and let me know.

ceedy said...

@v
Did you find the RIP - I doubt it is out there...

ceedy said...

@ria

Kewl...let me know if you like it

ceedy said...

@suma

yup it is worth waiting for...

Its a very interesting response from Nandita that can have a great debate

ceedy said...

@arunima

Thanks....it was a great experience to see the movie and then see her talk really up close and personal

ceedy said...

@joy
Kewl...do see the movie and let me know

ceedy said...

@diana

Welcome here....glad to see you...

yes do see the movie its interesting

ceedy said...

@joiedevivre
kewl

ceedy said...

@vinz
Yup you should watch it and let me know...

KP said...

Firaaq...looks like good movie....will have to watch it someday...

how is Wednesday?? your take on it...i have heard so much from so many people...havent heard anything abt in any blogs from anyone

Aneesh said...

WOW! looks really good. will surely watch it
:)

Still thinking said...

Cheeky aren't you!? :D

Satish Bolla said...

ceedy bhai, i believe that nandita das is one of finest female actors of india. it was good to hear(read) that she even ventured into the directorial path. that too, with such a delicate issue. looking fwd for this movie.

Abreysham said...

Wow- Nanadita Das has done a movie! There's a fil fest happening out here too, will be on the lookout- though mostly it is either english or arabic- MOSTLY. this yr it might be different.
Fashion is taking forever to release- been seeing the posters in front of cinema next to my office for ages now- i feel they're simply building up the hype. I hope they live upto it though.

The serious issues I choose not to comment on. Common man and all that ;)

Kiran Sawhney said...

Want to see this movie. seems great

(¯`•._.•[Raaji]•._.•´¯) said...

ahh cool. I wish I were in a big city to enjoy this kind of stuff :-)

Pavi!!!! said...

i have been waiting for this movie! am a nandita Das fan n the storyline of the movi is interesting. Thnkx for providing us the timeframe when we can xpect to see this movie. Do u know if it will be released in the regular English theatres? i guess not :(

I'd like to answer the Qs...so here i go..

1) How tough is it to be a Muslim living among Hindu majority?
Well during normal times..its not tough..but during the times when there is war n the world begins to think most of the terrorists..then it does hurt n pinch to be a muslim!
2) What is the fault as an innocent child - just that he is born in certain religion?
No fault :( he doesn't know what is religion to start with!
3) Can best friends from different religions still be friends after such a horrific incident? Do they think before inflicting terror on each other or does the mass hysteria take over their kinship?
If things get as bad as it can get..then yes the mass hysteria may take over the kinship OR the 2 won't survive!
4) How should a woman react - side with the males of her family even though she knows they have been part of the horrific incident inflicting trauma and physical abuse to other women of other religion or side with that affected women.
Woman or man..one should side with justice n truth. period.

ceedy said...

@kp

A Wednesday is a good movie...do see it if you can. It is from a common mans perspective against all the atrocities happening all around

ceedy said...

@aneesh

Ok dude.

ceedy said...

@still thinking

They were there once upon a time..now am trying to loose weight :P

ceedy said...

@satish

Yes...and I also saw ramchand pakistani on the last night where she is acting...try to watch both the movies...

ceedy said...

@abreysham

Did you watch fashion - it is out this weekend...

and the questions are the ones that are in the movie.....I did not ask them...when and if you watch it you will know.

ceedy said...

@pavi

I dont think it will be released in regular theaters - but if it does win some major international awards then blockbuster carries the DVD in foreign film section and also there are smaller theaters (atleast here in NY & NJ) that scree such award winning movies.

Thanks for the detailed reply -
1) But then atrocities are also done by fundamentalists from other religions - recent events Christian and Hindus - why then it is not tough to be from one of those religions?
2)Children suffer the most I guess.
3)Well then that kind of friendship is need based and myopic if it is overtaken by mass hysteria...and personally I rather not have such a friend....who can abandon me on slight provocation
4)the last answer is easy for us to say since we live in a very liberal country...here....but very difficult and sometimes impossible in many places...

All in all - do see the movie - these are the questions she raises and has dealt with very sensitively

ceedy said...

@kiran sawhney

ok kewl

ceedy said...

@raaji

or see it online or on DVD :)

Abreysham said...

watched Fashion over the weekend- absolutely loved the movie. Emotional movie, not in the rona-dhona sense. The whole gamut of emotions- from the hope and aspirations to make it big in life, the arrogance and heady feeling that comes with success, the eventual downfall, and finding hope again- superbly portrayed by Priyanka. surely career-best performance. Kangana looks awesome, the attitude, the looks.. I can seriuosly go on and on abt the movie- I've watched it twice already, just yesterday in fact. still love it. Third time will be on DVD though.

debasish.. said...

there was movie called 'Parzania' sometime back.
And..it was too good

Its somewhat similar to dis one.
I'll watch dis one soon!

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

The fact that Nandita Das directed this movie is enough to gain eagerness to watch it.

I loved Fashion,very well made!

Vandita said...

I loved Fashion, will look forward to Firaaq too