Popular Posts

Tuesday, March 31

Firaaq -Kuch Der Se Hi Sahi


I saw Nandita Das's Firaaq about 10 days back, in a rather empty theater. It is not often that one is numbed by a movie these days. But Firaaq made me quiet for the day. I was overwhelmed by the way the movie captured the tension, fear, the violence and the psychological scars of a city...

There were many thoughts that traversed in my mind that day - sad, poignant, disturbing images, lingering anger. And yet like most bogged-down-by-personal-livelihood-problems men, I carried on the week. Often a fleeting image from the movie would cross my mind...

I would pause for a moment and then go back to the pressing personal crusade...Yet once again this morning images from Firaaq came to haunt me as I read a powerful write-up on Firaaq by Shoma Chaudhury in Tehelka...

Shoma captures the film, the reason why civilised society must never forget the Gujarat riots and the apathetic unconcern of people like us evocatively here. Do read it even if you haven't seen the movie.

And notes to myself from Shoma's article...
- OF THE many crises of our age, the most helpless perhaps, are the crises of word and image. Bludgeoned in ways it’s never been before by an excess of information — the entire compact of sight, sound, emotion — the human race has not just become inured, it seeks inurement. Obliteration. When everyone is desperately seeking inurement, how is one to evoke? All the old descriptions are dead. “Awesome” is no longer something terrifying or aweinspiring; it is just a good ice-cream.

Into this opacity of meaning, occasionally, something slips. Briefly breaching our fortifications. Briefly triggering a healing disquiet in our being. Nandita Das’ directorial debut, Firaaq is such a moment. To say something new about the horror of Gujarat 2002 is almost impossible, to evoke empathy for it is heroic. But Firaaq does that.

- Emotionally taut, self-assured, pared, Firaaq is a searing exploration of subterranean poisons unleashed by Gujarat 2002. Guilt, rage, self-hatred, suspicion, the brutalisation of survivors — Nandita reminds us that the legacy of violence is more dangerous than violence itself. In one of the film’s most disturbing moments, the little boy in search of his father smacks an ant dead with sudden force. “Maar diya sale ko,” he says with unexpected vehemence. He has borne witness to vast and tiny cruelties. Now, he is a premonition of a new generation.

- Says Nandita Das - "I wanted to take small ordinary incidents so that people who watched could not hide from themselves by saying, ‘Oh I would never do this kind of thing’.” Among other things, this is what gives Firaaq its disturbing charge. It reminds you it is not just the 2,000 dead that makes Gujarat such an indelible rupture in our national life (though that ought to be reason enough). What makes it indelible is that the riots were just the most horrific face of a prejudice that runs much wider beneath the skin.

- For all this, Firaaq should have been a moment of great gratification for Nandita. A moment of recognition and animated discussion. Instead, this quiet, thoughtful gem of a film has come unheralded into our multiplexes. In all probability, it will slide unnoticed out next week. The director’s great conviction is unmatched by her producers. This shameful neglect is just one of the many creeping crises of our time.

3 comments:

Pooja Nair said...

Hats off to Nandita Dass!

Manish said...

have you seen the movie pooja?

Pooja Nair said...

Not yet ... i saw a talk show on NDTV with the entire cast of the movie. have been intrigued every since...

Will see it as soon as i get a chance...