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Firaq

March 27, 2009

I have seen Firaq.
After reading all about it and having watched it all I can say is watch it for yourself.
I watched it courtesy a friend , a most vocal one who made me see it.
I have nothing further to add except that while I admire Nandita Das as a filmmaker and as an individual in her own right, she left one with a feeling of incompleteness. As if there was no hope . As if the entire society of Gujarat was an evil abyss.

I won’t criticise the film nor admire it but simply present the words of one who says it much better than I ever could.
The Review given below is by a person called Abzee.(Not by me)
The link has been provided.

SPOILER ALERT!!! Read only if you’ve seen the film
Nandita Das’s Firaaq, whether she likes it or not, whether she intended or not…whether she knows or not- is a very political film. A deeply troubling one at that! As a filmmaker, one must be very sensitive when handling subjects that deal with actual real-life incidents, especially ones that affected a multitude. The ‘sensitivity’ one expects, in other words, is an expectation of a neutral voice, of a work that highlights the ‘incident’, ruminates on it, makes you think…and leaves you with more than something to chew on. The best of narratives in fact achieve much more than this- they almost become fables and gift you with a poignant lesson in humanity. Eg. Schindler’s List, Life Is Beautfiul, etc.

But what does one do when one makes a film on an incident such as the Holocaust or the Godhra carnage(that forms the basis of Firaaq) which are disturbingly one-sided. How does a filmmaker attempt to ‘balance’, when the unevenness is mitigating in its ‘execution’?

Well, cinema is a lovely art-form, and like all works of art, eventually results in catharsis of its audience. So, as artists, it becomes our prerogative and responsibility to help trigger the right emotions. Aristotle believed that plays were written about the peasant-folk and their angst so that their anger could have a ‘reasonable’ vent in the expression of the play and its characters. Great monarchs commissioned writers to write plays that were aimed at quelling possible common-folk rebellions. I will have to compare Firaaq to Mumbai Meri Jaan to elaborate on my argument, as the latter does everything ‘right’ what the former wrongs.

The face of villainy- when dealing with incidents such as the Holocaust or the Godhra massacre, incidents that were lopsided, filmmakers can very easily fall prey to ‘generalization’. When making a film on the Holocaust, one has to be very careful in not presenting the present Germans as responsible for the act or all of the Germans who lived back then as complicit to it. The manner in which this is achieved is by denying the narrative a ‘villain’. In films such as The Pianist or Life Is Beautiful, the ‘situation’, the ‘times’, the ‘madness’ become the villain. These films do not have a definite ‘face’ to their villain. Also, despite the involvement of civilians, one restrains from portraying civilians, in general, in a negative light. The acts of villainy are carried out by the state and its agents. In Firaaq, Nandita Das shockingly generalizes the whole Hindu Gujarati community as remorseless evil fundamentalists who want nothing more than to wipe the Muslims off the map of Gujarat. So in a film that is about the sufferings of Muslims in a post-Godhra Gujarat, the only Hindu characters are either plain evil, ignorant or impotent.
Nandita Das, in a dubious and poor casting decision, chooses the Hindu Gujarati Paresh Rawal to play a Hindu Gujarati- a wife-beating, Muslim-hating evil minion of the nth order. In Mumbai Meri Jaan, Nishikant Kamat very cleverly avoided the ‘easy’ casting choice of Madhavan for the south Indian.

But Das is not sensitive, and she surely ain’t subtle. So the film opens to a macabre pile of Muslim bodies being loaded off a truck, topped by a body of a child nonetheless, and the Muslim gravedigger(Tamil actor Nasser) who gets enraged when he sees a Hindu woman among the pile and decides to attack her dead carcass with his shovel. The gravedigger, never seen for the rest of the film, turns up in a worrying climax to underline what has until then been the most politically problematic film in recent times. I’ll come to that later.

I was willing to overlook that Das chose to have a Hindu Gujarati play a Hindu Gujarati as the face of villainy…willing to overlook that every Hindu character in the film from a roadside omlette-vendor to an educated upper-middle-class couple seemed to either condone the state-sponsored pogrom or have an apathetic reaction towards it. It didn’t even matter that the crisis of the Deepti Naval character, the only Hindu character that was haunted by the bloodbath, was resolved more as a feminist triumph than a socialist awakening. No, all of this I was still willing to overlook. Where the film became unpardonably troubling for me was in a scene towards the end. A Muslim youth runs away from a cop and successfully evades him. A random Hindu Gujarati looks out of his terrace and asks the cop about who is running after. The cop says, “Ek miyaan”. Later, having evaded the cop, the Muslim youth comes out of hiding and takes shelter under the very terrace that the Hindu Gujarati we earlier met lives in. The Hindu Gujarati notices him, goes inside, brings out a slab of rock and throws it on the Muslim youth’s head, killing him instantly. By having a random character of one community resort to a sudden random act of violence against the other community, Das incriminates an entire community of being in on the carnage.

If that weren’t bad enough, a young Muslim kid Mohsin, who has been witness to his mother and aunt being raped and killed by Hindu extremists, is witness to this act. The film closes with this kid returning to the shelter camp he earlier ran away from in search of his father. Only this time, the kid has lost his innocence. He refuses an invitation by other kids to play marbles. He sits stoically against a wall, and Das reveals the man sitting next to him- the gravedigger we met in the beginning. With nothing said between the two, and leaving a blank stare on the kid’s face, Das diegetically ties the future of this kid with that of the gravedigger. Who knows what this kid could grow up to become? He could grow up hating all Hindus, or worse get brainwashed into becoming a Jihadi. His future is most certainly bleak, and for Das sadly, it is also the only future possible.

As a Muslim walking out of this film, having seen all Muslim characters suffering and not seeing one repentant Hindu character but instead have an actual Hindu Gujarati play the ‘face’ of villainy, what is my catharsis going to be? Has my anger been given a proper, responsible and reasonable channel? Or have I been incited, and dangerously so in an ignorant and naïve fashion? Let me come back to Nishikant Kamat’s Mumbai Meri Jaan and illustrate how he gets it right where Nandita Das gets it so wrong.

In Kamat’s film, apart from the casting cleverness mentioned earlier, he also did something very admirable and responsible by having the Kay Kay Menon character. Kamat’s film was based on the 7/11 Mumbai train bombings. That too was a one-sided act of violence, innocent civilians losing their lives to an act of terror. The film could have easily been only about those who suffered in the aftermath of those attacks. It could have only been about Madhavan, Irrfan and Soha. It need not have been about Paresh Rawal’s cop and Kay Kay’s Hindu fanatic. But these two characters served as different devices. Rawal’s cop was the resigned voice of a city that had come to accept its crumbling under many variables, but Kay Kay’s character served a more important function, a function that Aristotle would’ve been proud of.

Had Mumbai Meri Jaan been just about those who suffered those attacks, directly or indirectly, I could’ve walked out of the auditorium sad and angry…at the attacks and the terrorists. Unreasonable and gullible minds could even find their hatred against the Muslim community being vindicated. In having Kay Kay’s character, Kamat tempers your anger and disallows you from jumping to hasty conclusions. So right from the beginning, in Kay Kay, he plants a surrogate for the audience who is presented as an extremist Hindu who believes every Muslim is a terrorist. The loud, exaggerated execution of the character is meant to create the Brechtian alienation so important for us to view him from afar. We get turned off by his insinuations…and if we do find ourselves relating to him, then Kamat cleanses us by having his character go through a graph where he ashamedly realizes his own folly. We walk out of the hall, feeling both heavy and light at the same time…..but more importantly, guided in our responses and reactions by a clever and sensitive director.

Nandita Das’s inert film does nothing of the sort. A narrative that pretty much ends where it begins(if not at a worse and bleaker place), Firaaq offers no hope and no respite. I’m not asking for a dance number, but certainly a more life-affirming end.

Comment by ăbzee on 23 March 2009:
My review of Firaaq must in no way be read as an endorsement of the Godhra pogrom, neither do I condone any of the state’s activities during the said period. Most importantly though, I have always been the harshest critic of Narendra Modi and continue to do so…and would like to stress that no amount of financial reparation and/or commercial advancement of the state can justify and/or suffice to gloss over the human rights violation and genocide that the state and its agents indulged in 2002.

My concerns about Firaaq are a strictly secular one. I forgot to somehow mention Govind Nihalani’s Dev in my review, but that film, based on the Gujarat carnage as well, wondefully struck a balance(leaving aside my reservations about the theatricality of the film, and its lack of cinematic aesthetic) in its argument. So you had Kareena even out Fardeen and Om destablize Amitabh. Also, the film maturely realized the role of the state, and never once resorted to knee-jerk generalisation that Das’s film sadly does. The only thread in Das’s Firaaq to receive a balanced closure is in the story of Shahana Goswami and Amruta Subhash. Shahana’s Muneera, upon returning to her charred home post-Godhra is helped by her Hindu friend played by Amruta, only to learn that her friend may have been party to the burning down of her house. She confronts her, and after exchanging slap, both of them hug each other. Ravi Chandran cleverly captures this moment- we see them hugging on the extreme right of the frame, their reflection in the mirror to the top right, reflected two-fold in the mirrors to the bottom left and the top left. In all we see five images of them in one frame- at once bringing to fore the uneasy nature of having more than one truths to such incidents. One can never see civilian actions at such times in simple black & white…there are many facets and many variables that come into play.


I hope that the review I have shared above says what I wanted to share about the movie. Nandita Das has faltered in portraying the whole truth and the fact that there are people defending this flawed portrayal is an irony of sorts.Generalisation of a whole community.Labelling them.There is nothing I hate more.

I was intrigued by the comments at Nita’s where a debate started raging over whether the movie was right in showing only one side of the picture.

I don’t know about the right or wrong part.What I do know is that if those who are criticising the movie without even having seen it are wrong ,then so are those who have been defending it without watching it.

The beauty and strength of India and infact most democracies is precisely the freedom of expression that they guarantee to their citizens.

India too can have many Firaaqs made and noone can say a word because it is the artistic expression of the filmamker and her sensibilities that are being portrayed on screen.

If Nandita Das has chosen to make a movie on the Gujarat Riots we should applaud her.But we should not be completely blind to her limitations as a film maker.

When the Indian liberals say that religion should be kept out of conversations like these,it is equally important to highlight that Nandita Das made this movie as an Indian.
Not as Hindu or a Muslim or any other. Do not say that Nandita Das is a Hindu who made a movie on atrocities on Muslims. How is it that religion surfaces here??That too by liberal individuals?

She is an Indian who made a movie on a brutal truth. Period.

The movie ofcourse will not make or break Indian society.Very few movies do. It will be lucky if it is able to earn enough to recover its production costs.

I am not saying this out of any ill intention, but simply because in India unless a movie is a masala movie , they fail to earn anything substantial at the BO and the good ones are left in the lurch.

Firaaq too is a good attempt by a good film maker to show an ugly face of a supposedly ‘normal’ society.

However,the attempt is not brilliant and neither is it unbiased, it is merely good (and i am being generous here) and it remains there.

Also ,would like to add that there is no controversy over why Firaq’s release had been delayed.
It was merely a matter of not being in a position to compete with the big names of the industry and so the team behind Firaq chose to delay the movie’s release because such a movie requires ‘word of mouth publicity’.(this is however my personal opinion)
The movie’s release might have been politically motivated. I would have no idea.
At this stage it is a matter of pure conjecture on all sides.

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77 Comments leave one →
  1. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 27, 2009 5:41 am

    I did not know about the film, until I read Nita’s blog… and I cannot comment on this issue until I see the film….

    But from what I have gathered by reading the comments, the film starts by showing the destruction of the masjid etc etc etc…
    was that required??? since the film was supposed to be about “Gujarat”…..

    again, I state, I need to watch the film first before commenting…

  2. Usha Pisharody permalink
    March 27, 2009 6:04 am

    Have been seeing interviews on different channels with Nandita Das [with half a ear only :)] and so wondered what she was doing, making a film. Didnt realize it was this one.

    You know, the very fact that you have let it stay with the readers, their choice to watch , to not, to slam it or otherwise, all the time reigning in what must I am sure be burgeoning feelings and thoughts you have, is rather telling 🙂 🙂 Just picked up a few nuances, which I am sure a lot of the others have too.

    I most probably will not watch it. No, not because you have not said anything about it, but because it’s much too beaten about, and I guess it’s a telescopic tour, of a whole lot of horror. Too real, way too real, and coloured with prejudice for me.

    But I do like the balanced views you share, and how you very intelligently leave it to the reader, to take from the reviews you have shared here, to judge and watch 🙂

    Thanks, as always!

  3. Winnie the poohi permalink
    March 27, 2009 6:07 am

    Will read this after reading the movie!

  4. Monika permalink
    March 27, 2009 6:34 am

    ok so i will come back and read this i so want to see the movie…

  5. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 27, 2009 6:52 am

    hey Winnie,
    please tell me as to how you are going to “read” the movie…. LOL heheheheheheheheheh

  6. Solilo permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:10 am

    Abhi, I skipped the spoiler as I would be watching it soon.

    But I did see the mention of Mumbai Meri Jaan and I have to say that rarely are movies made like that where emphasis on individuals after riots or attacks. Most of the time it is always a blame game so that the movie becomes talk of the town.

    When Deepa Mehta chose her lead characters names as ‘Sita’ and ‘Radha’ in Fire, she was expecting the controversy. She could have selected any other Hindu name but she went for this.

    In name of creative freedom many creative geniuses actually incite violence and play innocent. This is in no way justifying the act of fanatic attackers but also I am often wondered why only one side. Why not the other side and also why this tendency to defend? Calling a spade a spade would be when you have unbiased view about everything. But simply maligning a single party or a single religion is not.

  7. vimmuuu permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:12 am

    Havnt watched the movie yet. Will be back to comment here once I do that. But I strongly believe that the movies screenplay is shorter than your review !!! LOL !!

    (With this comment of mine, I am going into hiding!!! Byeee….) 😀

  8. Vinod_Sharma permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:24 am

    “When the Indian liberals say that religion should be kept out of conversations like these,it is equally important to highlight that Nandita Das made this movie as an Indian.
    Not as Hindu or a Muslim or any other. Do not say that Nandita Das is a Hindu who made a movie on atrocities on Muslims. How is it that religion surfaces here??That too by liberal individuals?”

    I understand your sentiments Abhilasha. But “liberals” deliberately make it a point to say that it is a film made by a Hindu to convey, without saying so in as many words, that if a Hindu is admitting as much as Nandita has in the movie, you can bet that Muslims must actually have faced much worse in Gujarat. Had a Muslim made exactly the same movie, frame to frame, the reviews would have certainly been entirely different and the film may well have sank without a trace.

    While we all must think that we are all Indians, for a lot people the layer of religion on that identity is equally, if not more, important. That is a reality we must accept, even if we are truly “secular” and can keep our religion in an isolated compartment.

    I also don’t think the delay in the release of such a powerfully communally polarising movie that is bound to influence Muslims all over India to not vote for a party has no political connect.

  9. kanagu permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:28 am

    one thing for sure is Nandita das was a gutsy and true filmmaker which no fakings required to be in cine industry and I am appreciating that…
    I am yet to watch the movie.. it will take time.. as I can watch it only with subtitles 😦
    As always your reviews are not just reviews.. it’s more than that.. it touches the readers 🙂

  10. Smitha permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:43 am

    Indyeah, I read Nita’s blog, the comments and now the 2 reviews that you have posted.. Not having seen the movie, can’t really say much apart from the fact that, moviemakers site ‘cinematic license’ while making many a controversial movie. While that makes sense, esp in a free country like ours, it would still, probably make sense to portray both sides of a story, given the kind of sensitive topic this is..

    Will get back after watching the movie..

  11. Rooney permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:02 am

    For some, Godhra is blah-blah. For others, post-Godhra is blah-blah. These are the numbers provided to the Parliament by the current UPA government:

    254 Hindus , 790 Muslims killed in post-Godhra riots.

    It was a riot where both sides suffered. I get the feeling that some people want to keep this chapter alive for eternity.

  12. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:22 am

    OG:-Absolutely right..noone can comment uless they have seen the movie …
    Which is why I thought the dabtae at Nita’s was ludicrous..(by some people not all)

    The start:)
    thats for you to see and form an opinion about…

    yes ,do watch it..

  13. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:28 am

    Usha Pisharody:-
    The feelings were overwhelming at times…and that is why it was hard not to say anything and write my own opinions here…so I took the help of another source,That is the review presented here…

    ”it’s much too beaten about, and I guess it’s a telescopic tour, of a whole lot of horror. Too real, way too real, and coloured with prejudice for me. ”

    I am horified of any blood and gore movies horror ones, sspecially..and this was not fiction but based on real incidents…which is why I sat horrified by it all..
    the incidents are true…no doubt about it..but there is a painting of an entire community with the same brush…

    that was the part that I did not like…

    yes upto the reader compeltely:)

    it is not about the debated as to whether ordinary people indulge in such things..that we know rarely ahppens usua;;y it is the political parties, the goondas who do it…

    my problem with the movie was simply the portrayal of an entire community as nothing less than demonic…

    (((hugs))))

  14. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:29 am

    Winnie:-yes that is the bst way to read this post:))

    Monika:-yup do watch it for sure..depite all the criticisms Nandita das has done a good job to a certain extent…

    OG:-lol!:D
    yeah Winnie… how?:D

  15. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:37 am

    Solilo:-Good you skipped it…it has the whole story in there…though the story is the same as what hapened in real life..so there are no surprises as such…

    ”Why not the other side and also why this tendency to defend? Calling a spade a spade would be when you have unbiased view about everything. But simply maligning a single party or a single religion is not.”
    My question too this one is…

    It is amazing the way everyone will jump in to save /defend certain things and yet remain mum on others….

    creative freedom…Remember the whole debate on freedom of expression??
    How come the same people who were in favour of responsible use of freedom of expression so as not to hurt sentiments are now vociferously commenting and are all for absolute freedom of expression?Is it because it is not about targetting them???

    nandita das can make whatever she wants…
    I however have full right to criticise it without being labelled a right winger..

    The moment questions were raised on Nita’s about why the ‘other side’ was not portrayed …it became a free for all…and the topic veered compleetly away from the movie and went off on a different tangent!

    amazing is all I can say…

    do share your thoughts about the movie after you see it…

    (((hugs)))

  16. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:43 am

    Vimmuu:-:D you are the funniset commentor:D

    yeah you better go into hiding:PP

    do share your thoguhts about the movie…it is quite real and gripping…

  17. Kislay permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:48 am

    Great minds think alike, eh ? 🙂 Both us wrote about the same thing on the same day . We are on the same page here, don’t have to add anything . Just tell me who this Abzee is ? He/She blew me away with that review . WOW !

  18. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:49 am

    Vinod Sir:-Yes sir that is my grouse against this particular comment by some commentor on Nita’s…

    I mean we are supposed to be all secular and all..and yet when it comes to taking or giving reocgnition the religious identities surface…amazing hypocrisy!!

    No we definitely are not secualr at all..

    and I have started to discover that even beinmg an atheist will not do…I used to consider myself one..but even then I am expected to take sides!!
    brilliant is all I can say ..cynicism and despair all together…

    the de;ay might have had a number of reasons..I just searched on google and everywhere this explanation came up…also came across an old magazine article that said the same…who knows?In this country ”sab bikta hai”

  19. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:51 am

    Kanagu:-Do watch it Kanagu…and yes nadita Das is a good filmamaker and a good actress no doubts about it..but even good people do slip up at times…

    aww..:)
    that is not my review Kanagu though i have shared it here…it is another reviewer’s:)
    But thank you for the compliment if they were for my words apart from the review:)

  20. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:58 am

    Smitha:-”moviemakers site ‘cinematic license’ while making many a controversial movie. While that makes sense, esp in a free country like ours, it would still, probably make sense to portray both sides of a story, given the kind of sensitive topic this is.. ”

    You said it all!
    That is exactly what my point is…when we talk about showing the ‘other side’ we are not legitimising the Gujarat riots…we are NOT saying that citizens just went on rampages went and killed each other…

    we know the ordinary citizens did not do these things…what we are asking is WHY did the riots start ro were started by some fundamentalists?
    Why?What gave them the excuse to start riots?If riots can start just in a vaccuum then why dont they happen every other day??

    Even the most fundamentalist of goondas has to show some reason in order to instigate people…

    so what was the reason here?that is my question
    that is all…

    DO share your opinions after you watch it..:)

  21. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:05 am

    Rooney:-The blah blah for any side is insensitive no matter who uses these words..(I know I know you havent)

    ”It was a riot where both sides suffered”

    yes,that I do agree on…one side suffered more but in the end when we say lets not look at religion then by that definition human lives were lost…

  22. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:08 am

    Kislay:-I was not in mood to write about the movie (it is so depressing and violent)but after reading your comments on Nita’s and the responses to yours ,I had to…

    I have no clue who Abzee is either..yeah the review blew me away too:)
    Thats why I thought it was so necessary to share it here…

    do keep a track of him/her(I have no clue)…I am hoping Abzee writes good reviews in the future too:)

  23. Charakan permalink
    March 27, 2009 10:18 am

    Good post Indyeah.It showed a balanced view. Not seen the film so can’t voice an opinion.
    In my opinion Gujarat riots was instigated by false reports in local press after the Godhra incident. A film that will help in preventing such violence any where in the World is a good film.Otherwise it is not.
    May be what we should do is to focus on booking all the assailants and bringing them to justice. Sadly the Modi Government is not co-operating.

  24. Biju Mathews permalink
    March 27, 2009 1:34 pm

    Wow! That was a very long review dear super woman. I think I don’t want to miss it, but it’s not released in Kerala

    In between I missed your spoiler alert and read the whole thing 🙂

    Keep Blogging!!

  25. March 27, 2009 1:49 pm

    Indyeah .. just to quote you back as thats exactly what i tend to tell everyone

    “when we talk about showing the ‘other side’ we are not legitimising the Gujarat riots…we are NOT saying that citizens just went on rampages went and killed each other…”

  26. Sashu... permalink
    March 27, 2009 3:32 pm

    thanks for the review indyeah! had been plannin on watchin this one..n i’d expected it to be a sensitive portrayal..i guess i’l comment more, once i actually watch the movie!! 🙂

  27. Bindu Nayar permalink
    March 27, 2009 5:28 pm

    Skipped the alert as would be catching the movie soon…

    uhmm…Solilo has commented already what i wanted to mention …

  28. Pixie permalink
    March 27, 2009 6:44 pm

    I have read a lot about the movie and was wondering whether to watch it or not…

    You post made me make up mind! Will watch it now for sure… As well as Gulaal

  29. Renu permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:02 pm

    In name of creative freedom many creative geniuses actually incite violence and play innocent. This is in no way justifying the act of fanatic attackers but also I am often wondered why only one side. Why not the other side and also why this tendency to defend? Calling a spade a spade would be when you have unbiased view about everything. But simply maligning a single party or a single religion is not.——I am writing Solio’s words to whom I agree here whole heartedly and I am not going towatcg this film, a sit will be helping it to make it success and increaing the lot of makers like this…Till now Iw as a fan of nandita:)

  30. Indian Home Maker permalink
    March 27, 2009 7:18 pm

    I have not seen the movie yet, will come to read this post after watching the movie Indyeah.

    Blogosphere is responsible for my watching many movies too 🙂

  31. hitch writer permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:00 pm

    I guess i ll read this post only after i see the film… that would make it better…

    i m damn sure i ll have a perspective on this…

    but not sure if i want to stick my neck out again !!! lol 😀

  32. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:06 pm

    Dhiren:-thats the beauty of friendships:)
    one can only disagree with friends and feel free to have debates with them:))
    like I did with you and rakesh:)

    Do you see me doing it with any other person I dont know?:PP

  33. Solilo permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:49 pm

    Abhi, I read review written by the person Kislay mentioned.

    One word – FABULOUS.

    You mentioned the same person too. Does this person have a blog? I would like to read his/her views on various subjects.

  34. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:53 pm

    Solilo:-Yeah he/she is quite mindblowing :))
    I loved the sensible way its been written too!

    no,I also have no clue about the person or whether he/she ahs a blog…will drop a comment on the review site and find out though:)

  35. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 8:55 pm

    Solilo:-I am not able to leave a comment on his/her site (the movie review one)
    It requires a wordpress account…could you please try?It would be great to know whether this person indeed has a blog:))

  36. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:29 pm

    Charakan:-thanksthatr was the aim to let the readers judge or rather form an opinion on their own and like you rightly said one cannot comment unless one has seen the movie…

    ”A film that will help in preventing such violence any where in the World is a good film.Otherwise it is not.”
    absolutely!
    a movie that says that yes these are teh events that heppened and now see this is how we should move forward…

    this movie in my opinion is nothing more than a documentray and not even that because it shows the suffering of a community ..the director herself says that she will focus only on one side…

    there is no other side…does saying that thereis no other side mean that only members of a certain community were killed and noone else?

    how come a liberal indiviadual like Nandita das all of a sudden focusses exclusively only on one religion?

    anyway watch the movie for yourself…you may like it I am sure ..this here however is my personal opinion…

    May be what we should do is to focus on booking all the assailants and bringing them to justice. Sadly the Modi Government is not co-operating.

    I agree..any sane individual woiuld agree…I dont see how criticisng a movie has taken the focus away from holding the culprits responsible..

    anyway you must be aware that one woman has infact been arrested today in connection with the riots…a heartening development by any standards…

  37. Rakesh permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:31 pm

    How could I not comment? A conversation with you is so interesting, always. I actually wrote a long comment earlier but the internet got disconnected and was down for few hours here.

    I haven’t read the review since I so want to write a post on this movie. I actually saw it during the Dubai Film Festival few months back and even had a question answer session with Nandita Das at the end. Everyone was obviously praising her so I couldn’t speak my mind. I just asked her at the end “Why This? After so many years, again why this?” And she replied “Why Not This?” And the crowd started clapping.

    How I wish, I could’ve told her what was in my mind. Have to sort it out to write a sensible post on it. But in short, I definitely feel, this movie is biased. Especially with 5 or 6 characters, Nandita Das could’ve done well to bring in some balance. She’s just trying to get some cheap fame here, just like Varun Gandhi.

  38. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:32 pm

    Biju :_:D
    yay!!super woman!:D
    lol!nah!just shared a rather good or actually brillaint review here:))

    do watch it as and when you get time:))

    LOl@missed the alert:D

  39. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:37 pm

    UI:-yes the movie is something we can freely criticise…

    there is a time and place for everything

    the movie can be crtiticsed or praised depending upon individual opinions becasue at the end of the day it is a work of art…

    the reality is that as portrayed by the filmmaker..so it is open to interpretation..to each his/her own…

  40. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:40 pm

    sashu:-You are most welcome:)
    do watch it:)will be looking forward to your opinions whatever they might be:)

    Bindu:-:)absolutely do watch it..good you didnt read it:)
    yes Solilo as always has said it quite effectively:)

  41. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:44 pm

    Pixie:-oh yes one should definitely watch it..if only to broaden one’s understanding:)

    do share after you have seen it:)

    this is why I watched it too to see whether the criticism was justified…

    Renu:-:)(((Hugs))thank you for coming:)
    yes I have been a fan of Nandita’s still am in a lot of ways..but this left a bad taste in my mouth…

    as you said Solilo indded has said it all:)

    IHM:-:)Do watch it and then read the post:))

    would love to know your views…you might like it or might not ..either way it’ll help in bringing a new understanding and a new viewpoint to the topic:)

    Blogosphere is responsible for my watching many movies too 🙂

    yes same here IHM:))

  42. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:54 pm

    Rakesh:-:))yay!!Like I wrote for dhiren:)one can do that with friends only:)and thats the reason I avoid commenting on blogs where I am not comfy

    not so the case with you:)

    same here I have to say ,a conversation with you is quite thought provoking:)

    ”But in short, I definitely feel, this movie is biased. Especially with 5 or 6 characters, Nandita Das could’ve done well to bring in some balance. She’s just trying to get some cheap fame here, just like Varun Gandhi.”

    yes that is my view too..
    and the review is someone else’s that I have shared here…

    I will be eagerly waiting for your review…because going by your dilli6 one it should be a brilliant one again:))

    yes it is rather hard to say something contrary when everyone is going one way only …

    good that you did ask her taht question claps or no claps…

    and I suppose your innate politeness prevented you from asking further…I can understand ..I might have doene the same thing…

    you can express yourself through yopur review though as only you can do it quite convincingly:)

  43. hitch writer permalink
    March 27, 2009 9:54 pm

    I know you wouldnt have debates with all others… but special and privileged people like me !! lol…

    like i did mention on solilo’s blog to bones…

    all debates of modi on godhra… will always be lost…

    thats why i m weary… lol…

    as a cricketer i hate losing… and chances of winning are slim on this topic… and especially with you and solilo !!!

  44. Indyeah permalink
    March 27, 2009 10:14 pm

    Dhiren:-LOL
    😀
    yeah I can debate with strangers but with friends I feel comfortable..i would not jump on a stranger’s blog to debate,
    however with solilo I can do that…as also with you and Rakesh like I said…

    yes Modi and Godhra are topics that can never be justified…

    a movie however can be criticised hai na?:)
    for not showing the whole truth and only being out for cheap and quick publicity…

    cricketers can appeal to third umpires also:D:D
    LOL!!
    however here we are on our own…debate and then move on is the mantra of everyone here:))

    and as long as it is between friends and is polite it is fine:))

    umm And I can never quite offend someone who is not only a friend but has also made all of us a part of the blogsamaj:))

  45. Smitha permalink
    March 27, 2009 11:08 pm

    @Rakesh, Reading your comment made me wonder.. Don’t you think there must have been others there in that conference, who probably felt the same way you did – but did not voice it? And do you think that it’s become politically correct and fashionable, if I may say so, to applaud such ‘secular’ statements even if we might not totally agree.. I mean, anybody who talks about Hindus gets branded ‘communal’. Somehow I get the feeling that if Nandita Das(or anyone else) had portrayed the other side – she would have been branded communal in a second.. I know that I am going to beaten up blue for saying this.. But I can’t help wondering…

  46. hitch writer permalink
    March 28, 2009 12:16 am

    SMITHA : I too cannot help wondering and i think you are voicing the emotions rather correctly !! wonder wonder !

  47. manju permalink
    March 28, 2009 12:28 am

    Indyeah- Not having seen the movie I can’t comment on it.

    But I feel the timing of the release cannot have been an accident.

  48. Rakesh permalink
    March 28, 2009 1:31 am

    Smitha, guess what, She got a standing ovation at the end of the movie. What else do I say?

  49. J P Joshi permalink
    March 28, 2009 1:44 am

    I haven’t seen this movie and thus cannot comment. Had seen ‘Wednesday’ sometime back about the Mumbai carnage. The movie, I thought made a mark, although I think it flopped at the box office. I am no movie buff though, I must confess.

  50. Vyazz permalink
    March 28, 2009 7:10 am

    I read the spoilers in spite of not watching the movie (cant help it).
    I have seen almost every movie connected with the Jewish Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide as well. And like you said, they have been mature enough so as to not single out the entire community as being barbaric.
    From what I can gather, this is not the first time the Hindu community has been subjected to accusations of communal violence. Even slum dog millionaire had a scene showcasing a typical anti Muslim riot.
    Frankly I detest deploring a particular community as pure evil. And a film-maker ought to keep in mind that fact, be it Hindu or Muslim.
    You see, the human mind is a influential one, and while you claim to make a movie deploring a certain community, people are bound to go home with mixed emotions, with a prejudiced outlook.

  51. Solilo permalink
    March 28, 2009 8:04 am

    Now I am waiting to read Rakesh’s views. And Rakesh, have you mentioned this incident before? Because I remember reading it somewhere.

    Trust me timing is apt. Election time after all and perfect oppurtunity to incite people and let them relive that horrid past again. Even if people want to forget and move on to build a strong nation, some people citing creative freedom and donning a secular hat would come up with this and more to keep reminding them of their past.

    The problem with us is that we always live in the past and tit for tat mentality is used by politicians and these creative geniuses to their advantage.

    Only these movies would fetch them accolades internationally.

    Check Youtube and you will find Ashok Pundit’s videos about ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits flagged as dangerous and some even removed.

  52. Indyeah permalink
    March 28, 2009 9:41 am

    Manju:-well yes, in India anything is possible..we have no way to prove or disprove it…the movie is atleast a way that we can see for ourselves as to what is being portrayed but the timing of the release is something we can merely speculate about..

    It could be a lot of things I supppose…so yes you could be right…as so many others feel too..

  53. Indyeah permalink
    March 28, 2009 9:44 am

    J.P Sir:-yes,I loved A Wednesday too…because it portrayed quite effectively and brilliantly the emotions that all of India , the common man was going through at that time…

    do see this movie if you are able to get some time Sir..

  54. Indyeah permalink
    March 28, 2009 9:52 am

    Vyazz:-welcome here:)

    :D@cant help it..yeah the whole post is a spoiler:D

    ”they have been mature enough so as to not single out the entire community as being barbaric. ”
    yes!this is the main point that I have an objection to!:(

    ”And a film-maker ought to keep in mind that fact, be it Hindu or Muslim.”
    ”You see, the human mind is a influential one, and while you claim to make a movie deploring a certain community, people are bound to go home with mixed emotions, with a prejudiced outlook.”

    Brillinat comment Vyaas!and uncanny as to how another blogger has written something along these lines(in a different context though)

    let me share some lines by a great blogger said in a slightly different context but ones which hold true for the whole world (I love her blog and the way she writes)

    ”Perhaps, the trouble with too many artists is that they forget their own power. The power of media. Films and books are as much a tool for challenging social ideas as they are tools for emotional discovery or just plain storytelling. You can break stereotypes. You can stretch limited imaginations. You can help others become less judgmental human beings. You can save children. But you have to want to.”

    These lines are from here
    http://www.anniezaidi.com/2009/03/in-wake-of-wounded-woman.html

    (brilliant post also by her BTW)

    Yes Vyaas I have the same questions the same fears..the ones you have written about..

  55. Indyeah permalink
    March 28, 2009 9:55 am

    Solilo:- ”Even if people want to forget and move on to build a strong nation, some people citing creative freedom and donning a secular hat would come up with this and more to keep reminding them of their past.”

    this is the problem I have too!
    why not use this medium as a catharsis instead of as a brutal reminder?that too a one sided one??

    will go and search for the Ashok Pandit videos..I had no clue!

    I am aware of who Ashok Pandit is but never heard a word about the videos!!and dangerous??and have been removed???what the???
    let me go and search..:((

  56. Indyeah permalink
    March 28, 2009 10:01 am

    @Vyaas:-uncanny how in an earlier post of mine I had said the same thing

    (but in context of Dilli6 and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra and how he shows the Hindus and muslims as one in the beginning and then how there is strife and then in the ned how he tries to bring the Hindus and muslims together )

    ”Cinema is the biggest ,most widespread medium. Why not use it to talk to people ? To educate them? To help them realize some things? As it is, very few directors are doing it”

  57. amit permalink
    March 29, 2009 4:36 am

    I think I have to watch this one before commenting.

  58. ruSh.Me permalink
    March 29, 2009 7:00 pm

    Spoilers :
    I would NEVER throw a stone tile on anyone from my first floored apartment.. Its not about Hindu-Muslim… The One you killed was a Human being first.. If just a Police men said so, where are your brains?? I guess your religion gobbled it up???

  59. Poonam permalink
    March 29, 2009 8:04 pm

    I haven’t watched it yet. But I think I know what you mean. About showing just one side. Nandita has famously said, “There is no other side.”

    I will catch up and get back.

  60. Indyeah permalink
    March 29, 2009 10:30 pm

    Amit:-yes,that is the best way …to see for yourself and then form an opinion…everyone else here is going to be doing the same…

    Rush-me:-exactly!

    and like you said so aptly
    ”Its not about Hindu-Muslim… The One you killed was a Human being first..”
    absolutely!
    and how can such a sensible director show someone doing it in the first place?so damn casually??

    I do agree that people do turn into beasts..and really religion is just an opium which helps them to be more depraved than they already are…

    but she has branded a whole community as the same!

    I thought she would be unbiased and yet she also falters…

    it should have been a human story brutal in its intensity ,sometyhing that showed HUMANS and how they could be manipulated and it should have given a message…something that those who watched it could have carried home..

  61. Indyeah permalink
    March 29, 2009 10:45 pm

    Poonam:-yes,do watch it…like I wrote watching it ourselves is the best way to form an opinion…

    yes Nandita has famously said ‘tehre is no other side’ and then compared it to the holocaust..I mean really !
    yes it was brutal but unlike the holocaust this DID have anotehr side!

    And the question still remains that what triggered off this brutality?(I know nothing can be justified but for the sake of being factually correct she should have shown the Godhra incident)

    someone who has no knowledge of anything about Gujarat riots will carry two impressions from the movie..

    1) Hindus are demonic and bloodthirsty(it could have been any religion really …to portray ANY religion a whole goddamn religion like this is idiotic)

    I would have been equally offended had this been about any religion…remember the way Gadar was slammed for being so biased in its portrayal of muslims?(it was a pathetic movie really and exagerrated)and it typecasted muslims the villains..I had hated it then too

    2)the Gujarat riots happened out of the blue…apparently nothing triggered them off..they just ‘happened’

    How absurd can anyone get?
    Do watch it…whether you like it or not itll give a new perspective to the whole thing

  62. Smita permalink
    March 30, 2009 3:42 am

    Hmmm haven’t seen the movie and have no plans to…

    As ur review and the other one suggests this is a biased view and I don’t agree with it….

    But I must say a well balanced review….

    Have loads to say but short of time….will come back later…

  63. Indyeah permalink
    March 30, 2009 8:07 am

    Smita:-thanks:)
    But I would suggest that you do see the movie..if not now then maybe sometime later..but do see it..it’ll help to see how some things can be portrayed in a biased manner…all in the name of ‘humanity’

  64. Chirag permalink
    March 30, 2009 8:32 pm

    All these comments for a movies 😉 I will have to see the movie and come back.

    What I have gathered by reading the comments, I should watch the movie, without any prejudices.

  65. Indyeah permalink
    March 30, 2009 9:38 pm

    Chirag:-Yeah do watch it…thats the best way ..to see something for ourselves..
    …and like I said to another friend:)maybe you will like it maybe you wont either way it’ll give us a new perspective on the movie…on its own the movie is good..but not factually correct in my opinion..
    .
    LOL@so many comments for a movie:D

  66. March 31, 2009 7:08 pm

    It is disturbing to read these views. I do not think any filmmaker should be criticized for choosing a subject or even showing it from her own point of view. I too did not like every single thing she showed (as I admitted in the comments) but she has a right to show her view, even if others feel it is one-sided. I get some comments too on my blog saying that I should write a post from all points of view but I think that’s nonsense. I have now put it up in my comment policy, that I am going to write my own point of view because this is how I see it. Alternative viewpoints can be accomodated in the comment section.
    Same way Nandita Das is 100 percent right in making a film showing her point of view, and other filmmakers, writers etc can always make their own point of view work. Criticizing her film cinematically is one thing, but to say that she should have shown all points of view is what I think is disturbing. Any point of view is necessarily subjective and of filmmakers start trying hard to make films or writers start to write books from all points of view it will kill the very notion of freedom and ofcourse creativity.

    • indyeahforever permalink*
      March 31, 2009 8:01 pm

      ”I do not think any filmmaker should be criticized for choosing a subject or even showing it from her own point of view”

      Well,My personal opinion is that anyone can be criticised for sure .That is what makes it a democracy.
      But yes,wecan only limit ourselves to criticism and nothing more…because to force someone to do something would be wrong.

      ”I get some comments too on my blog saying that I should write a post from all points of view but I think that’s nonsense”

      I got them too 😀
      But the thing is its our blog so we can write our personal opinions just as a film maker can show her views.But the right to criticise is always open.

      I might not allow certain people to comment on my blog if they are too vitriolic but they will criticise all the same.

      A filmamker is a public personality and therefore quite open to criticism.

      Alternative viewpoints can be accomodated in the comment section.
      🙂 absolutely!

      ”Criticizing her film cinematically is one thing, but to say that she should have shown all points of view is what I think is disturbing. Any point of view is necessarily subjective and of filmmakers start trying hard to make films or writers start to write books from all points of view it will kill the very notion of freedom and ofcourse creativity.”

      like you said,it will alwys be subjective.and therefore always under scrutiny.And we really cant always debate about how the cinematography was what the story line was of a movie..what we also do at times is see if the director has tried to present a human picture…Nandita das has presented a picture of a divided society in which one side is a villain and the other is a victim…if that is not typecasting I dont know what is..

      I think what people want to say is that it should have been factually correct.

      Any point of view is necessarily subjective and of filmmakers start trying hard to make films or writers start to write books from all points of view it will kill the very notion of freedom and ofcourse creativity.

      No,it will not kill creativity simply because they are free to criticise..they can attack ideas,people and establishments in their works and books..but they also have to prepared for brickbats alongwith the bouquets…they are answerable to the audience that watches/reads their works.
      and as you can see here we are merely criticising not forcing…surely criticism is also a part of democracy nay its very breath..

      I dont think it should be disturbing because we are trying to see whether the movie is balanced or does it seek to paint an antire community with one brush.

      ”The accusations against this film, that it does not show the other side are true enough, but I agree with the director Nandita Das when she says that there is no other side.”

      ISnt that statement quite contradictory?

      There always is another side….the other side is not of victims here
      but of an incident the most potent one,the Godhra incident that triggered things..

      There always is another side…
      comparing the incident to the Holocaust is not fair..at all…The Holocaust did not have another side..this does…

      Infact, I think everyone is open to criticism…should be always for a democracy to survive…

  67. April 1, 2009 1:05 am

    Indyeah, I am not saying that she should not be criticized. She can be criticized about things which are to do with filmmaking, not her choice of subject or point of view. For example if someone makes a film on domestic violence showing how victims feel, and how comments by men in society about women, then there will be men who will say this is from one point of view and why has the filmmaker not shown the other side. The point is, there is no other side when it comes to domestic violence. Same way there is no other side when it comes to riots. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to take the law into their hands and kill innocents. And if the director has shown the general population there apathetic to the sufferings of the community which was the victim of riots, then this is her viewpoint. She clearly feels that the atmosphere in those places had become vitiated. She has not shown why it had become so, but she clearly felt it was not important. She makes a powerful statement by not mentioning the reason, this is her vision as a filmmaker, whether you or me agree or not. And if you feel that there is no prejudice against Muslims amongst Hindus, then I don’t think I agree. An incident of the Godhra train burning was enough to make people very very angry and make them make the kind of hate and fear the community. This is what Das shows, how difficult it is for the community to lead a normal life because some extremists set fire to the train. I think we should salute her, and not condemn her.
    Someone said that if a Muslim had made this movie no one would have bothered. I don’t agree. A quality movie is a quality movie. I personally am proud that Das made it and yes proud that she is a Hindu. I just cannot help being proud of that, although I am not religious. This is what I feel, right or wrong. I guess being an agnostic doesn’t really negate my Hindu blood. Neither do I want it too.
    But it’s time we stopped criticizing filmmakers about choosing subjects and presenting their own point of view. I think people have realised that cinematically it is a good film, that is why they are attacking her in other ways. Very sad.

  68. April 1, 2009 1:10 am

    Just want to clarify something. Das did not mention the Godhra train burning, but what I meant to say is that she knew it but did not mention it. This to me is significant. This means she thinks it is not important. She was totally focusing on something else. It’s okay. You or me may not have made the movie this way, but there is not doubt that this woman Das has made a great movie. It was bad, we wouldn’t even be discussing it.

  69. April 1, 2009 1:10 am

    Just want to clarify something. Das did not mention the Godhra train burning, but what I meant to say is that she knew it but did not mention it. This to me is significant. This means she thinks it is not important. She was totally focusing on something else. It’s okay. You or me may not have made the movie this way, but there is no doubt that this woman Das has made a great movie. It was bad, we wouldn’t even be discussing it.

  70. April 1, 2009 1:12 am

    I have not mentioned the Holocaust.

  71. Indyeahforever permalink*
    April 1, 2009 7:32 am

    ‘’Indyeah, I am not saying that she should not be criticized. She can be criticized about things which are to do with filmmaking, not her choice of subject or point of view.’’

    So where do we draw the line??
    Why should we draw the line??How can criticism be selective in this particular case?
    Why is it that we always put individuals in India on pedestals???
    What should I criticise her on?The way she didn’t use light properly in a frame ?or that she could have used better camera angles??

    Is that why I go to see a movie?maybe if I am a cinema buff..one who knows the nitty gritties of movie making ….but I am not..I go to see movies so that I can hope..so that at the end of showing a brutal reality the filmmaker will also heal some of my hurts…that is why I go…that is why Humanity goes….to forget their troubles..to take some hope…

    ‘’ For example if someone makes a film on domestic violence showing how victims feel, and how comments by men in society about women, then there will be men who will say this is from one point of view and why has the filmmaker not shown the other side. The point is, there is no other side when it comes to domestic violence. Same way there is no other side when it comes to riots’’
    With due respect Nita, to compare riots to domestic violence is absurd!

    How are these two examples even remotely connected???

    Asking an intellectual like Nandita Das to get her facts in a movie correct is not like asking for the moon…I am sure she could have shown the Godhra incident and then showed the riots and its aftermath….even a piddly lil note at the beginning of the movie would have sufficed instead of even visuals of Godhra if she didnt want it…

    She refused to do it and we are applauding her for it??

    ‘’There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to take the law into their hands and kill innocents. And if the director has shown the general population there apathetic to the sufferings of the community which was the victim of riots, then this is her viewpoint. She clearly feels that the atmosphere in those places had become vitiated. She has not shown why it had become so, but she clearly felt it was not important. She makes a powerful statement
    by not mentioning the reason, this is her vision as a filmmaker, whether you or me agree or not.
    ‘’

    Like I have said before in the comments above and in my post,agreed it definitely is her vision as a filmmaker…but in this democracy called India I have full right to question her and criticise..
    I do not agree…I can both see that she has made a good movie AND also see that she falters….neither fact takes away anything from the other..Why do we have to get defensive OR offensive about it?it is a movie…a movie made by someone with a lot of political baggage whether she likes it or not…and it is precisely because of these political leanings that she will be criticised AND praised time and time again….

    She is not your normal bollywood director….ergo she will not be treated like one!She will be treated like an intellectual and quite a good one she is..

    If she is an intellectual she had better be prepared to answer questions even tough ones!and her fans(including me) should accept it as part of the package…

    ‘’And if you feel that there is no prejudice against Muslims amongst Hindus, then I don’t think I agree.’’

    Err….where did I say this exactly?that I think that there is no prejudice?Prejudice exisits among both the communities…and it exists like never before today…

    What do I call this movie?A documentary?or not even that because it refuses to atleast get its facts right…a one sided portrayal does NOT mean that Godhra aftermath was justified…

    What it means is that a filmmaker refuses to even show that something happened, something that some fundamentalist and a mad CM took advantage of…

    showing Godhra(or atleast a note) would not have lessened the crime but would have merely provided factual information..

    ’An incident of the Godhra train burning was enough to make people very very angry and make them make the kind of hate and fear the community. This is what Das shows, how difficult it is for the community to lead a normal life because some extremists set fire to the train. I think we should salute her, and not condemn her’’

    Salute her for what exactly?The fact that she shows a fear laden atmosphere…where each person is either black or white…oh sorry…only members of a particular religion are black…..
    Brilliant typecasting by Nandita Das….Hindus are evil…bravo!I should applaud her I think..

    Is this responsible filmmaking???By any standards??

    I am all okay with her horror and I quote’’how the human psyche’’works’’

    But why couldn’t it also have been about giving out a message to this deeply divided society that is India???
    WhY???
    Why is it that only responsible filmmakers like Aamir Khan and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra have to show the healing between Hindus and muslims???

    Why are all other parallel cinema people so hellbent on this gouging of wounds?And that too without any balm???any way forward???Have we kept them simply as our unofficial historians???

    India is already grim…believe me,we couldn’t get grimmer if we tried….

    In the middle of this a filmmaker shows a movie that
    Says there is only one side…
    I can still accept this statement had she shown some hope later…

    Would you like to know which movie sets the standard?Raises the bar for such one sided supposedly humanistic movies like Firaq??

    Garam Hawa..that classic by MS Sathyu…brilliant…heartbreaking and evocative…one could empathise without feeling alienated…one could see that we were all humans…humans with shades of grey…humans who could not be classified into this religion or that….

    There were characters…characters who transcended religion and how!!

    And Garam Hawa is based on the partition!

    Which massacre has been more bloodier than the partition???And yet look at MS Sathyu…the way the movie progresses..sheer genius..the emotions the actors..all par excellence…

    Ismat Chughtai ,Kaifi Azmi and MS Sathyu what a trio!

    ’I
    personally am proud that Das made it and yes proud that she is a Hindu. I just cannot help being proud of that, although I am not religious. This is what I feel, right or wrong. I guess being an agnostic doesn’t really negate my Hindu blood. Neither do I want it too.
    ’’

    No I personally have slightly diff beliefs..I am just an Indian.nothing more nothing less…..

    Because I believe that from being a proud Hindu or a proud Muslim or any other it is only a short jump to ranting about ‘us’ versus ‘them’ and southerners and northerners and marathi manoos and bhaiyya logs…

    So no I am not a proud hindu..I just happen to be from a particular religion…I treat it rather like a I dont know…a boil, a sore…something along those lines…and if I could I would disown all links to religion…or religiousness..

    Hindu and Muslims don’t enter into the picture for me…

    How?
    because for me GADAR was a disgusting movie…it typecasted muslims!and how crudely!

    At that point I saw noone raising a voice…because they were Pakistanis??
    It still made me gag..How can we typecast anyone be it even Pakistanis?

    I found Gadar to be a typical typecasted movie…
    But then I do not expect a masterpiece from Anil Sharma..he showed his prejudiced thinking with that movie…

    However I do expect better from Nandita Das…she is in class of her own…
    I was disappointed severely at that…

    This is a die hard Nandita Das fan who is talking…one who has seen Kamli and hari bhari, hazaar chaurasi ki maa and many others…

    So yes I was disappointed with her vision…and I really don’t see how it can be called condemning her…
    Condemn is a strong word..I would not use the word condemn here..….I, for one, am criticising her…a vast difference between criticism and condemnation…

    ’But it’s time we stopped criticizing filmmakers about choosing subjects and presenting their own point of view. I think people have realised that cinematically it is a good film, that is why they are attacking her in other ways. Very sad.’’

    errr…why not??I can criticise her surely?Why can I not criticise her to my heart’s content?

    Like I said before and I will say again….criticism is the life and blood of a democracy and one cant choose and pick causes randomly…so no its not sad at all..rather the way I see it these discussion are a cause for celebration in a way…we are discussing and quite democratically too

    Firaq is a movie guaranteed to evoke responses…it can not be otherwise no matter how much we will it to be so..

    Because Firaq ia not just another movie…and if it’s not then it should be ready to be treated like one…

    ’Just want to clarify something. Das did not mention the Godhra train burning, but what I meant to say is that she knew it but did not mention it. This to me is significant. This means she thinks it is not important. She was totally focusing on something else. It’s okay. You or me may not have made the movie this way, but there is not doubt that this woman Das has made a great movie. It was bad, we wouldn’t even be discussing it.’’

    Nandita Das might very well think its not important…that’s her prerogative…I however happen to think it is damn important…
    Nandita Das is no barometer of right or wrong…we all can surely decide on our own and come to a conclusion ourselves..whatever it might be…
    I can criticise but not force her..I can merely use words in a polite manner and criticise..thats all I can do and am doing

    It is precisely because the movie is one sided that we are even discussing it..infact had it been otherwise THEN we would not have been discussing it…

    As for the ‘a muslim would have made this movie and all’’
    I would have no idea…that is someone else’s opinion not mine like you have noted too..

    Yes you didn’t mention the holocaust but I gave it as an example…because have heard it being mentioned at a lot of places where discussions on Firaq have been going on……for me,the Holocaust and the domestic violence are two extreme examples at either ends …and have no relevance to what we are discussing….

    Nita, I liked the movie in parts but I ALSO felt it was not unbiased…and that is what irritated me…I cannot understand why we should go overboard in its criticism or its praise?be either defensive or offensive?why?

    I am okay with the movie..coz at the end of the day India is still going to go on the same as ever…but since you asked I also had to share how I felt since I had only shared my views previously through another person’s review

  72. June 25, 2009 1:14 am

    Hey Indy, what a post! and more so, what commenting…..
    me- now tell me why I should not fall in love with you 😀

    i have not watched this movie and hence do not have the right to comment on it.

    but what i would like to comment on is the the issue of “creative liberty of a filmmaker” discussion, which has taken me in and swallowed me completely after reading it….

    (warning: i may sound a bit too solemn Indyeah, but it really is me!)
    me- I love this side of you too 🙂

    I believe and vouch for the right to creative expression, whoever it may be. in this case, film makers. but with every right comes responsibility.
    me- Absolutely!! with every right comes responsibility. so so true Crafty!

    if i want to express my thoughts, opinions and even narration of an incident / issue, that is upto me how i do it, of course.
    but the minute i hold the potential in my hands to change even one single life, to change one mind, in whatever way, through my expression, then i am responsible. and if i cannot take that responsibility or do justice to it…i may spoil that one life, beyond repair…
    me- I agree !!

    every human being is social and has a responsibility towards society. as a citizen, i am responsible to do my duties, safeguard my fellowmen and maintain humanity and equilibrium. but as a filmmaker, i am a voice that touches many ears, hands that mould many minds, an artist who paints pictures to influence, to portray what i wish to, or things as i see it….
    me- you have said it so beautifully Crafty!
    as a filmmaker, i am a voice that touches many ears, hands that mould many minds, an artist who paints pictures to influence, to portray what i wish to, or things as i see it….

    LOVED these lines!!

    when broaching inflammable topic like mentioned in this movie, its downright crucial to ensure what i let my audience to go home with….
    because, a movie has a longer life span than an article read or headlines in a paper…they are visuals that stay back. and visuals n narrations turn into little opinions and derivations of our own, in respective minds…

    me- I am going to repeat your lines coz they say it much MUCH better than I ever could!

    because, a movie has a longer life span than an article read or headlines in a paper…they are visuals that stay back. and visuals n narrations turn into little opinions and derivations of our own, in respective minds… brilliant!

    if I hold the power to influence minds like this, then i better be careful of what i sow in minds.

    it’s not about solving or justifying the horrendous past incidents or about defining the roles played by each community in this war….
    as u said, the healing is a must….how it is told is very very important….
    me- yes Crafty!exactly!!the healing is something that has to be looked at no?

    if a child questions about death or sex, we need to be very careful of the image we create. why? because he / she may carry that image for all of their life…we want the image to healthy, and yet very close to the truth too.
    me- I LOVE this example! LOVE it for, this is what I do in the classroom…when thye ask questions I have to think for ages and really carefully before I give them an answer…just presenting them with the brutal truth will not do…

    why not so with communal issues? if i want to bring forth issues, in a public manner, open for all to view, then musn’t i be careful to lay out the facts (which i need to be thorough on to begin with) in the most truthful yet sensitive way?

    any creative position where media is involved is a huge responsibility. because u are not just expressing…u are forming images, ideas, beliefs and faith in the midst of people, and these are more often, irreversible…

    me- truthful yet sensitive!and you hit the nail bang on the head Crafty !!

    .u are forming images, ideas, beliefs and faith in the midst of people, and these are more often, irreversible…

    and please tell me why I love you so much again 🙂
    the maturity and sensitivity and understanding in these words here in this comment touched me Crafty! 🙂

    u remember my post on that sugar free, Indy? i felt that way.
    i will be writing and creating a brand image that will get ppl to perceive it my way (client’s way, while that is not the entire truth…
    me- that was when I knew that you would never do anything that goes against all that you believe in…
    I loved that post of yours..for its sheer honesty and concern

    its tedious. but filmmakers and everyone who holds the power to influence with words, pictures, narration HAS to do this – look back at their creation before they make it public, and scrutinize it, and evaluate in what direction will this creativity and expression move the people. if it will be towards better awareness and a more humane society, then it shud be let out in public.

    but god forbid,if not, then it has not business reaching the public minds.
    me- BRILLIANTLY said!I AGREE completely!!!

    every creativity has its beauty, every expression has a style…the essence must focus on greater good of society.

    if i as a filmmaker have created a movie that holds potential to fire up the past and existing evils, and create more prejudice, then i have No Business exercising my right of expression.
    me- yes! I agree ..I soo agree!

    be responsible with ur creative rights, or get lost i say!!

    whew!!!!!

    creative expression is a topic of my heart Indy. and i strongly believe that everyone who expresses in public MUST be careful, u never know what / who u give birth to while ur r busy expressing urself!
    me- Crafty I LOVED this comemnt.!absolutely completely LOVED it!
    more so becasue you took out time to sit and read and then give your views so sensibly and so maturely! I love you:)

    needless to say, i am pretty predictable INDY….i agree with all that u said!!!
    hugs n muahs!!!!!

    i am proud to know u!!
    me- (((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))muah! 😀
    I am darn proud to know you too 🙂

    • June 25, 2009 10:36 pm

      i love u tooo too much Indy!!!!

      i read all of ur comments, and i must say this, i pity my luck i didn’t meet u earlier….

      muahs!!!

      i learnt a lot of lessons on my own, but i feel, had i known you, it might just have been easier…
      me- and I think you have done a damn good job on your own 🙂
      ((((((((((((((((((((Hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))

      never mind! u’re here now!

      and i ain’t letting go of ya ever!!!!

      i can’t remember when last u did not make absolute sense, and when last i did not violently agree to every comma n full stop of urs!

      ah! now i know why i don’t remember, coz it never happened till now! 😛

      love u forever n ever n ever!

      *crafty handcuffs Indy with her*

      “ab ke yuhi, mile rahenge dono, waada raha yeh, iss shaam ka”

      muahs!
      me- *Indy is ecstatic to be handcuffed with Crafty* 😀
      muah!!
      (((hugs))

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