Firaaq : Movie Review

Like said in many reviews, Firaaq has such a shocking, hair raising opening scene, that assures this is not going to be an easy watch. And it is not easy to watch this movie and forget after leaving the hall.

Firaaq is a story set in 24 hours of few lives living in a city, which has just been burnt down by riots. A muslim couple [Shahana Goswami & Nowaz] , come back to their home after riots, only to find out ashes. Leaving both of them shocked and angry with life. A Gujarati Hindu family, two brothers [Paresh Rawal, Dilip Joshi] and traumatized wife of elder brother [Deepti Naval] who is still in shock cause she did not open her door to save a Muslim woman. An ageing Music maestro [Naseeruddin Shah], who loses his voice after seeing the tragedy, and a caretaker of him [Raghuveer Yadav]. A muslim businessman [Sanjay Suri] who lost his store because he was a partner in it. He is supported by his Hindu wife [Tisca Chopra] to save him from breaking down. And in between of all this, a boy who is orphaned by the massacre, Mohsin [Mohammad Samad].

The movie has such a dark tone. One can feel the tension around. At times, my heartbeats got raised just by the tension on the screen. Especially when Sanjay Suri's character is going to say something to Police. Or the chase scenes. Full marks to director Nandita Das for such live portrayal of the things. Also I would praise her for not putting even a single scene of riots. The movie is about riots but we don't see a single one but still feel the pain caused by it. The performances are top notch. Though I feel, Naseer could have been used much better.

Shahana Goswami in her second movie, wins accolades as Muneera, a woman who has lost it all and feels aggressive about it. Raghuveer Yadav is at his best. While Paresh Rawal does his bit of satirical style, Deepti Naval as his wife is woman of a few words. She tells everything by her expressions. The pain we can see on her face. Sanjay Suri has a role of guy who is frightened by things going around, and he plays it quite well. Though the script makes this one a little stretched, actor pulls it off well. Tisca Chopra as his Hindu wife also does her bit. Wished she also could have been used more. The child artist, Mohammad Samad, plays his role very skillfully. He puts audience in awe and let them feel what he has been going through. I was listening audience reactions around, and everyone was like 'felt' for the boy.

Direction point of view, the movie is excellent. Evey little things has been taken care off. I could not belive the movie has mostly been shot at Hyderbad. As a citizen of city, Ahmedabad, I was amused how my city was re-created in this movie. Nandita Das has made a unique effort by making a movie about riots, but still she has not included any political issues or religious comments. The thing I was worried about the most.

This is a movie, that can leave you disturbed. So watch it only if you do not get uneasy by such things. Though the movie doesn't sport bloodshed or burning flames but still there is something. I would go with 4 stars for this one. It is a must watch.

The Reality:
I was aggressive about this movie at first, when I heard of it. Because this had happend in 'my' city. And everyone, just everyone in the world was cursing 'my' city Ahmedabad, so it was but natural to be aggressive every time the city became target. But this time my perception was wrong. The movie holds nothing that I can go against of. Still at one corner of my mind, I feel that this is little biased being focused to just one community. But later I realize that 'that' community faced worst. Okay, the other community which I belong to, has also suffered the same trauma. But, Its always like two sides of a coin.

I remember, we were living at a place where the area of another community was pretty nearby. At the time of riots, there were shouts from that sides. Here, at this side, the same was enacted. Every pilgrim had their own share of loudspeakers, to make remarks to each other. [remember, Delhi 6?]The nights were sleepless. Women were worried. I overheard a woman telling this 'what would happen to us if the mob attacks here?'. Didn't another community felt the same at that time? I was thinking. Every community has their bad elements. And their own share of good elements. So why don't they choose the other way rather then catching the bad one? I thought. All this thoughts, I felt, are there in this movie.

Even, here it is shown that Sanjay Suri, a modern businessman-who is not at all into all this, is also not spared. That is story of Ahmedabad's very first super store's owner. Pantaloons, a store which was partnered by a Muslim, was robbed off just like it is shown in the movie. People came in cars to rob it off. All of this has happened in reality. Also shown the tense situation in night, the thing I felt many times. While we were out, everyone was worried back at hoem if i wasn't home at 9pm. I had visited another sensitive city, after 10 months, but still there was curfew imposed, and situation was damn tense. Why, it left me thinking, why do we need this? Isn't there enough hate in the world?


  1. I'm going to have to wait for this on DVD, no one seems to be playing it here :( Thank you for your review. After reading your thoughts, I can't wait to see Nandita Das's work!

  2. It certainly looks really worthwhile, but I'll have to wait for when I'm in a decent mood to watch it. ;-)

  3. Shabana hardly ever fails and I can't wait to see this film!

  4. Sounds like it delivers on its promise! I'll have to wait for the DVD, too, and hopefully that wont be long in coming.

  5. All
    Yes, I too think the DVD is on the way. So its good that many places it hasn't been released, people will get to see early as possible. And I felt sad when here in India, it is not received well. Yesterday I was going through one movie site, there many offensive comments were written about it. Felt bad.

    While, when I was in theatre, people around me [hardly 20 persons] were as impressed by the movie as I was. Everyone was feeling what was on screen. And to my surprise, one group which was sitting behind me and I supoosed they will make bad remarks, they too were awestrucked by the visuals.

  6. Hey, thanks for the review! Firaaq didn't release in the UK. I was very disappointed :(

    Any idea about its DVD release?

    PS I'll email you the Filhaal song tomorrow. I was away on holiday in Wales, so couldn't sent it earlier.

  7. BhargavHope you had fun in Holidays.
    I think something is going wrong with UK distributers. First it was DevD now its Firaaq; such big movies are not to be spared from big NRI market.

    No idea abt its DVD, but pirated copies are available as always on torrents [Gosh, somebody ban those sites]. And hey, DevD dvd is already out. Can't wait to get my hands on. Because its got bonus disc having Making Of.. stuff.

  8. Honestly - nothing against creative freedom.. but enough of immortalizing the gory past, which we are not proud of, on the screen.

    I can relate to the last part, as being an Amdavadi, but honestly, is it really required?! Do we really need to be told the story over and over?! What is past, is past, and is over.

    So, when everyone voices their opinion on not to make a movie on Taj attacks, how come no one objects to Godhra riots/! I mean, enough already! :)

    Anyway, the review, well written! :) But I don't think I would want to catch it on DVD either! :D

  9. What's in a name> You have quite interesting view there. I agree with your Taj Attack bit. Before watching this movie, I had same feelings with it. But I think, this is a controlled version. Things are not shown with the point of view one expects it. But its a story of emotional breakdown after the things happen. So it turns out rather harmless to the present scene.

    But yes, enough already. I think there shall not be 'more' movies on riots of any kind. Be it Mumbai, Punjab or Gujarat. What are we getting after all these? Still all....ALL.[punjab, mumbai, gujarat]..cases of these riots are pending. So let them be solved. And leave movies as 'movies'.

  10. Anonymous18:08

    this is a must watch movie.


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