Mumbai, March 20: Nandita Das’ directorial debut, ‘Firaaq’, being based on a heavy subject like the dreadful communal riots of Gujarat in 2002, has been brought out by the actress-director in utmost sensitivity and with great technical finesse.
The film mainly aims at exploring the aftermath of the horrifying 2002 Gujarat riots. ‘Firaaq’ opens with a hard-hitting mass burial, followed by the scene where a truck discards more dead bodies, depicting the ruthless sight in Gujarat during the riots.
The story revolves around several important characters including Muneera (Shahana Goswami), who is struggling to restore her life while trying to uncover those ugly faces; who had set her house ablaze. The film shows the plight of a Gujarati housewife (Deepti Naval), who is unable to get over her guilt of closing the door on to a Muslim woman, who was seeking safety from a Hindu mob.
At the same time, a modern Hindu-Muslim couple (Tisca Chopra – Sanjay Suri) decides to relocate from the state, as the husband is scared to disclose his true identity in the given circumstances.
On the other hand, a devout musician, Raghuvir Yadav (Naseeruddin Shah) manages to maintain his calm and remains optimistic about the situation and his diminishing student count until his idealism is traumatised. Meanwhile, a child who has lost his family in the riots becomes witness to the city set on fire.
‘Firaaq’ is definitely a great attempt in terms of the intensity of its subject, and the way it has been dealt with. However, the sudden misery in Naseeruddin Shah’s strong character post his perpetually positive outlook doesn’t appear to be convincing. Shahana’s character begins to get a bit monotonous beyond a point and her story seems to be incomplete.
On the whole, ‘Firaaq’, which ends showing a ray of hope, is a commendable directorial attempt to explore the aftermath of the horrifying 2002 Gujarat riots.
Three cheers for this one!