Social media may either be a treasury of good or treachery of bad. From this usual statement is a live example narration which we don’t get to receive often. One of the nice things for me to pick was “Firaaq”… Gratitudes to one of my sweet sister who has been the source…
“Firaaq” which means separation in Hindi is a directorial debut of actor Nandita Das. Suddenly some day, when I was reading “The Hindu’s Friday Review”, I noticed the female artists being mentioned as “actor” instead of “actress”. Later there was an answer to my confusion that the female artists hate to be discriminated with gender based words and prefer to be called as “actors”. Though, after that all female artists were addressed as “actor”, it would’ve been the initiative of few. And, I could guess Nandita Das was one of those initiatives.
The movie starts with a claim “A work of fiction…. Based on a thousand true stories….” And the common base holding the thousand true stories is the “2002 Gujarat Riots”. Obviously, with a controversial base, this movie has faced the threats for release, but finally it was released and won some International Awards and surprisingly two national awards. The movie could be felt more like a combination of short films focusing on same situation in different people’s lives. The very first frame into the story starts skipping our emotions in a bloody carousel. Dead bodies continuing to be piled up together in a pit skips our emotion from pitying the dead to scaring for the alive and unborn. The attempt of Nasser to attack the dead body of a Hindu woman depicts the difference between the emotional crimes and the deliberate blood thirst, intolerant crimes.
And the movie moves inside to the reasoning of the emotions. A couple with an infant find their house burnt. A Hindu fundamentalist in argument on phone to save his brother from a rape case, where his wife Aarti gets unusual “day”mare phobias of Muslim women who had long back banged her door for refuge. And that woman is obviously forced to be a dumb helpless maid machine in that house. She punishes herself with hot oil on her hands for her helplessness. The maximum help she could do was to feed a little Muslim boy who has been orphaned by the riots. But, he runs away from the house witnessing a domestic violence on Aarti. And that domestic violence was a result of her exercising the right to expression against her brother-in-law.
The most piteous of all would be the situation where a person doesn’t even know he is in danger and keeps trusting that he will get back the large Hindu-Muslim crowd for the music lessons at his home and who doesn’t even know that a sacred Islamic shrine was destroyed in intolerance.
An inter-religious, Hindu-Muslim couple on the verge of all arrangements to flee not only to save their lives but also to be out of trouble to their Hindu business partner. The Muslim man’s situation sharply shows that misinterpretation or a hidden nature of a name could save one’s life. Also, the riot has made a “man” to fear for his “virginity”, because to find out Muslim men, they will be stripped to see if the front portion of their penis is cut, which Muslims do in a tradition called “Sunnath”. At the same time, there is also the pain of not exposing the surname.
And according to any fundamentalists, “a big heart” is only regarding “money” and not on the context of tolerance and humanity. A low donation to a temple function is a narrow heart whereas, torching a community in such a large landscape, raping the women just because they don’t belong to the majority religion is “justice”.
None of the human-minded human beings can react when the little boy says “They removed my aunt’s dress and killed her. But they didn’t do that to my uncle”.
Nor there is a valid response for the domestic violence on Aarti when Aarti’s brother-in-law, a bloody thief and rapist comments on a Muslim woman’s grief of her daughter being dishonoured, as “How can people with no honour be dishonoured?” to which Aarti opens her mouth to question “So.. Do you have honour…?” A rapist speaks about other’s honour and that is what the culture of this nation has fixed to be “right”. That is why she was beaten up by her husband as a result of which the little boy ran.
And the little infant whose parents’ house was burnt is a fatherless child now. But, the movie has touched a wave in showing few tolerant Hindus silently helping the Muslims against the intolerant devils.
The climax is where everyone takes up a turn to attempt boldness in their personal life and feeling “good”. It is a big decision shown in a simple, melodious way, yet there are assured struggles for each. Still, the “decision” is what matters to be an initiative to face the struggles. After all, “boldness” is not so underpaid to end just with a “decision”.