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FIRAAQ : Saat Suron Mein Itna Jadoo Kahan Ki Yeh Vehshat Rok Saken - Nandita's sensitive & insightful offering that should not be missed. (Review By Bobby Sing)

21 Mar, 2009 | Movie Reviews / 2009 Releases

Nandita Das, an actress known for her off-beat choice of movies and remarkable acting skills, decides to wear the director’s cap and surprises us with a highly sensitive, thought provoking film revolving around the aftermaths of 2002 religious clashes or the ugly riots.
Interestingly, last year we had a brilliant MUMBAI MERI JAAN focusing on the victims and witnesses of Mumbai Train Blasts in 2006 as an unexpected, thought provoking gem winning hearts all over. And this year we have FIRAAQ (meaning Separation or Judaai) telling stories of similar victims, their fears and the traumas faced by their families, post one month of the brutal riots in various regions of Gujarat (2002). 
The directorial debut of actor Nandita Das, it’s a sensitive as well as shocking realistic film based on the aftermaths of the riots that still haunt people, even after years when they get to face a similar situation or people led by the same communal hatred. As a film strongly reminding us of our ugly past, many might not be willing to watch it too due to their own reasons and questionable religious prejudices. 
However for all responsible, thinking viewers, this is a must watch film indeed, as it has the depth, emotions and power to make you reconsider, why there is so much hatred between the sects formed by the man himself resulting in such mass destruction, bloodshed and loss of precious life?
As a sensitive and sensible director Nandita succeeds in generating an impact that makes you understand the minute difference between the terms ‘sympathy’ and ‘empathy’. The well-written and intelligently conceived/shot sequences make you feel the pain experienced by the victims losing their property, work and above all many dear friends and family members right in front of their eyes. The upsetting interactions on screen literally give you a first-hand kind of experience that is certainly a huge achievement by the debut director directing such renowned names in the cast. 

(*Scene Descriptions Ahead)
Sharing the personal experience, its first scene itself is the most important and impactful scene of the film, capable of sending chills down your spine. It’s a graveyard scene, where a loaded truck arrives giving more work to the grave diggers who already have enough bodies to bury together lying in piles.  In fact, this can easily be rated as one of the most powerful scenes amongst movies made on communal riots till date by any Indian or foreign filmmaker. Frankly, the last time I felt this way watching anything on screen was while experiencing the flawless TAMAS directed by Govind Nihalani in the late 80s. 
Post this solid start, the narration moves into different stories of people who had witnessed the massacre and are still haunted by the memory of those awful, black days. As a middle class housewife Deepti Naval is trapped in the pool of guilt of not helping the people coming to her house asking for a timely shelter. And she is now punishing herself, every single day, thinking about her cowardly act. On the other hand, Paresh Rawal as her husband, is a cunning materialistic person who is more interested in taking advantage of the communal tensions in the city instead of helping even the known victims. 
Shahana Goswami and her friend working as ‘mehndi inscribers’ in marriages, luckily get saved by a simple ‘bindi’.  A group of men manage to get a pistol with only one bullet but and that also gets wasted in their own fight. A child gets lost in the big town after losing all his family members in riots, but he luckily finds Deepti, who decides to take him home making way for some moving conversations between the two lost souls.
Apart from the above, there are two stories that specifically stand out having a lasting impression on the viewer. One is about a Hindu-Muslim couple (Sanjay Suri & Tisca Chopra) who have decided to leave the city, since they have lost their store in the riots, looted and destroyed by the mob. And the other is about an old classical singer (Naseeruddin Shah), who still believes that everything is at peace out there and nothing has changed at all. Raghuvir Yadav is his closes associate/friend serving him for years but even he hasn’t got the guts to reveal the reality to Naseer. 
Here, the film thankfully makes you feel the nostalgia when you hear Jagjit Singh giving playback to the classical singing of Naseer bringing back the fond memories of the unforgettable days of watching the serial MIRZA GHALIB. And when Naseer is asked what he can do to stop this all, then he calmly replies with grief, “Saat Suron Mein Itni Taaqat Kahan Ki Yeh Vehshat Rok Saken”. 
In another worth mentioning as well as disturbing sequence, as Naseer and Raghuvir pass through a road sitting in an autoricksaw, Naseer suddenly asks the driver to stop and comes out looking for something he has been seeing there from decades. Actually he is looking for an ancient and ages old mazaar which is not there anymore, lost and destroyed by the unconcerned mob. Raghuvir calms him down tricking him with an explaination that we are not on the same road and everything is fine. This is the second most impressive sequence of the film post the first in the beginning.
Having a perfect cast ensemble, FIRAAQ also scores brilliantly in its performance department, with both Naseeruddin Shah & Sanjay Suri truly excelling them all in their given roles. At the same time, the impressive acts by the talented cast actually make an impact due to an equally praiseworthy cinematography, art-direction, costumes and background score too giving a realistic touch to the film recreating the desired ambience.
Having said that, the film somehow doesn’t end with any moving, exceptional crescendo taking the entire proceedings to another level, if compared to the excellence witnessed in its various sequences (througout the film) repeatedly raising the bar. Still, it unarguably remains a not to be missed, must watch film for all who are looking forward to a better future ahead, free from any religious hatred or divide. 
To sum it all, FIRAAQ is one of the most moving films made on the subject of religious clashes or riots (unfortunately becoming a regular feature of our nation in the present times) and thus deserves to be seen by every thinking mind in the country as well as abroad without any doubts or concerns.
(Plus would love to see what Nandita brings us next in her second directorial venture in the coming years.)
Ratings : Movies To See Before You Die

Tags : Firaaq Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Nandita Sen Directorial Debut, Movie on Gujarat Riots, Hindi Movies on Communal Riots, Movies to See Before You Die, Must See Movies List By Bobby Sing
21 Mar 2009 / Comments ( 5 )

Worth Seeing Movie & brilliant review !

Keep it up bro!

Bobby Sing

Its a sensitive and must watch vision of Nandita Das.

Thanks for the appreciation...and Keep Loggin.



Watched it on Amazon Prime yesterday. It is brilliant, just brilliant.

The film starts with " a thousand true stories' - which is so so apt.

The first scene actually jolts you out.

Sad, unfortunate - things had to happen this way. Also, the way the person from the balcony throws the slab on Nawaz to kill him - it is chilling. The man goes back to his room as though nothing has happened. 

Overall it is a much watch film.


Bobby Sing

Yes its indeed a brilliant take on the issue, a masterpiece Kumar.
Glad that you decided to watch it and liked it too.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,


Please watch Ram Ke Naam by Anand Patwardhan. It is also a brilliant film made in 1991 but released in 1997. Would like to know your review on the same.

Bobby Sing

Thats a documentary Kumar. Have seen it long back but would watch it again as you have reminded me at the right time.



I know it is a documentary - just over an hour. Watched it a few years back. Wanted your views on it. Like you said, very right time with what is going on in our country.

Bobby Sing

Its a must watch unarguably for every youngster born post the mid 80s as the things got hugely different by the time we reached the new millienium. 
An even more important for everyone born in the new millenium for knowing what exactly is the history of our country that got through a drastic change post 1984 and 1992 in particular.
Just one important part of the docuementary showcasing the views of the main mahant/purohit of Ram Mandir clears it all, who was eventually murdered after one year of the demolition.
An eye opener that will surely change the thinking process of a person provided he or she is willing to see the things without any bias and ready to accept the brutal truth as it is.

Would surely add this in a write-up soon.

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