Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘religion

ON A POSITIVE NOTE: Aashish Chowdhary
Aashish Chowdhary, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the terror attack in Mumbai last year writes

I feel humbled by all the strength my friends and this fraternity gives me. Also, I do realise how I must let go of all that, that is buried inside me. I also am aware that there are plenty of others who have gone through a lot too. But, I am in the hope that all of you will understand me when I tell u that it is not the right moment for me to come out and say absolutely anything regarding the issue.

My sister’s kids are living with and being taken care of by their paternal grandparents. I haven’t spoken about it much because I feel that my family needs to be left alone. I have been misquoted on this sensitive issue recently, and I wish people would stop doing that.

I just want to request one and all to help each other for a start. Whether it’s the government, the doctors, teachers, the common public, whoever. We all need to help each other. Have love, respect for each other. There are so many incidents like these with really poor people too. We can start with some charity if nothing else. The revenue of all the events and programmes that are held on the pretext of the anniversary of 26/11, for example, should be given to charity. Lots more can, and should be done.

And finding the problem and curing it is not the end all. We’ve got to cure it from the root. It is not only people like Kasab. He is a victim himself. A victim of wrong preaching, false teaching. Kids are being brainwashed from a really young age to commit felony in the name of religion. It’s sad. But it’s true. My dearest friends are Muslims and they have a totally different meaning of Jihad. I do not think it’s the religion. The Islamic religion is beautiful in my eyes. It’s the select few, who are on an entirely different zone. All of Pakistan is not as its being perceived. It’s just that the cockroaches in that home have to be removed. All homes have some pests or the other. Crimes are committed in India, too, my friends.

I know I’m saying so much despite of starting by saying I don’t want to. But, what I’ve said is what I think all should know. We are all humans. We should love each other. Hate is a big, bad emotion. It’s got to be eradicated. Religion is not the be all and end all. I say all the internal religious problems in our enchanting, multi-faceted India too should be thrown in the back seat. We have to unite. It’s the need of the hour. For me — as a fellow human to all — I’m a human being first, then an Indian, and then… full stop!
BOMBAY TIMES (November 26, 2009)
Tribunal clears a promo showing Salman Khan chanting the Hanuman Chalisa at a rock concert, after it was shot down by the censor board
By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 21, 2009)

Recently, Vipul Shah’s London Dreams promos ran into trouble with the censor board as it had Salman Khan chanting the Hanuman Chalisa during a rock concert. It was only when the producer-director approached the tribunal that the promos were cleared.

A source said, “The censor board felt that chanting the Hanuman Chalisa during a rock concert might hurt some religious sentiments so they asked Vipul to change the visuals. Vipul, who thought otherwise, approached the revising committee, who too turned him down. So Vipul went to Delhi and approached the tribunal, which accepted his point of view and passed the promos.”

Vipul Shah confirmed the news and said, “Lord Hanuman is also known as Sankat Mochan, which means one who puts an end to all problems. In the film, Salman plays a simpleminded Punjabi, who believes that chanting the Hanuman Chalisa will put an end to the problem he is facing. As expected, everything turns positive for him and his rock band. Since these days everything is a bit sensitive, the censor board raised objections. However, the tribunal, which is a higher body, found no reason why the promos should be changed. That’s where we got the clearance from. After that, we had to again approach the censor board in Mumbai and only then were the promos cleared. It was a bit of a process but we have got the certificate now. The promos will be aired soon.”

Vinayak Azad, regional officer, censor board, said, “The examining committee thought that chanting the Hanuman Chalisa during the rock show might not be appropriate. However, the tribunal felt that it has been done with respect. They also directed the applicant (Vipul Shah) to add another visual of the crowd chanting, ‘Bajrang bali ki jai’ in the end. What’s important is that the order has been passed. The tribunal feels that the promo is appropriate and it’s not offensive or disrespectful to any religion.”

If Shah Rukh can be discriminated against (on the basis of religion), who else is left? This is a man who was listed by Time magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in the world. Doing this to him springs not only from discrimination but also a lack of knowledge —Farah Khan | DIRECTOR farah
I have been detained thrice at American airports. The immigration officers have a lot of attitude and are very arrogant. They don’t care who you are. Besides, they don’t like you speaking unless spoken to, and something similar must have happened with Shah Rukh. The officers’ standard reason is that your name is suspect, which is very arbitrary. And if a person has been cleared once, shouldn’t their system register it? Also, how much time does it take to find out who Shah Rukh Khan is? A google search would give more hits than Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise put together. They took two hours to find who he was? This clearly means that it was a case of harassment. I feel their security system is based on paranoia, and this incident with SRK, who has millions of fans in America, is going to spread ill-will against their country
—Kabir Khan | DIRECTOR
I have faced a similar situation thrice, and it is because of my name. This country doesn’t care about a head of state like APJ Abdul Kalam, so why would they care about a celebrity? They work like machines. The reason for their attitude towards us is a blend of their arrogance and their paranoia about a certain religion. When they issue us a visa, can’t they differentiate between a suspect and a well-known person?
—Irrfan Khan | ACTOR
It’s shocking, disturbing and downright disgraceful. It is such behaviour that fuels hatred and racism. SRK’s a world figure for God’s sake. Get real!
—Priyanka Chopra | ACTOR

FLAT ROW: Actor Emraan Hashmi, along with director Mahesh Bhat , addresses the media on Friday

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; Aug 1, 2009)

Mumbai: The beleaguered Emraan Hashmi, who was recently shown the door by a housing society in Pali Hill allegedly because of his religion, has help coming. Minister of state for home Arif Naseem Khan has decided to intervene in his case. “I was really surprised to know that people are not given a house because of their religion,’’ said Khan, who has received a complaint from Hashmi. “This is completely unlawful. I have already instructed the joint commissioner of police to look into the matter.’’

Joint CP Rakesh Maria, who has been asked by Khan to initiate action under Sec
tion 153 A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between religious groups) and Section 295 A (insulting a person’s religious beliefs), said the crime branch would make inquiries and take action accordingly. Hashmi and members of the housing society have also been summoned by the state minorities commission for an inquiry on August 10.

The actor filed a complaint on Thursday with the commission, alleging that the committee members of Nibbana, a plush housing society on Pali Hill, had refused to give him an NOC even after he paid a token 1 lakh towards a flat. When told the society members’ explanation—that
they had refused him an NOC because his father had barged into the room while their meeting was on and behaved inappropriately—Hashmi replied that his father was the last person to do something like that. “He had gone there with a proper appointment,’’ he said. “The society has been using various tactics to keep us out of the building from the word go.’’

Broker Farhad Khan, who has been bringing clients to Nibbana, had warned Emraan about the problem. “I have been clearly told by the society not to bring Muslim clients to the building,’’ he said. A media professional corroborated this, saying that he too was told by the society office-bearers that they did not rent out flats to Muslims.

Lyricist Javed Akhtar said he was not surprised at the incident. “It’s a common occurrence,’’ he said. “But
the issue will not be resolved if we behave like ostriches. This kind of polarisation in society will only lead to ghettoisation and create more distance. These are the same people who keep harping about wanting the minority to come into the mainstream and then behave in this way. I am glad Emraan has spoken out.’’

Akhtar said the administration and the police needed to get involved in the issue. “The law of the country gives everybody the fundamental right to lead a normal life, which includes the right to live where you want. A person cannot be debarred only because of his religion,’’ he said.


Did the founder of any religion ever preach violence? Did any of these holy men give his followers an allowance to kill people of other faiths? NO is the answer. Yet, our country has faced riots and serious communal tensions, most of them in the last 100 years. The people have prejudices against a particular community and with such an atmosphere, peace can never exist. Politicization of religion has further ruined the whole picture. Firaaq, a bold attempt by Nandita Das, throws light on the trauma faced after communal riots.

The story of the movie: The story is set in Ahmedabad, a month after the horrible Gujarat riots in 2002. The story has six parallel characters:
1. Muneera (Shahana Goswami), married and has newborn baby, and is shocked because her house was burnt down in the riots. She has a friend-her only confidante who is a Hindu.
2. Muneera’s husband Nowaz (Hanif) who is angry of being the victim of Hindu atrocities and along with few of his aides, wants to seek revenge
3. A battered Hindu housewife, Aarti (Deepti Naval), has an anti-Islamic husband Sanjay (Paresh Rawal). Aarti is helpless with whatever is happening around her. She feels the guilt but can’t overcome it.
4. Sameer Sheikh (Sanjay Suri), married to a Hindu lady Anuradha (Tisca Chopra), fears due to his Muslim identity, and wants to run away to Delhi.
5. Mohsin (Mohammad Samad), a young boy, who has lost almost all his family members, is wandering on the streets, searching for his missing father.
6. Khan (Naseeruddin Shah), a musician, a saint, who has his own set of ideas he strongly believes in until the riots turn his world upside down.

Firaaq’s first scene is scary. In fact, there hasn’t been any such chilling scene ever before in any film. While the film may be dubbed as showing only one side of the entire incident, it’ll be completely wrong to term it as pro-Muslim. Sure, the film shows the trauma faced by the Muslims, but it doesn’t become judgmental at any point or takes sides.

All characters in the film are well-sketched. The developments that take place in the narrative are highly engrossing. Also, the film is just 100 minutes long, but packs in so much in such a short duration! Though the film is highly applauding, it is the climax which seemed too inappropriate, especially in Shahana Goswami’s track.

Prior to the film’s release, a leading political party wanted to ban the film and criticized that a film of such a nature is being purposefully released during Elections with the help of a rival political party. I don’t know whether this is the truth but I am really glad that Firaaq released at such a time. The film shows the hard, bitter truth of the situation during the Gujarat riots. The film indirectly helps us get our facts right and choose the right government. Any government or its head involved in such heinous crimes and activities doesn’t deserve at all to get a chance to run the country at all.


Performance-wise, each actor gave his best. However, four actors were outstanding-Shahana Goswami, Mohamaad Samad, Deepti Naval and Sanjay Suri. Shahana Goswami was splendid. She was completely into her character and it’s difficult to believe she was the same actor who was there in ‘Rock On!!’. She is surely a powerhouse of talent and has a long way to go!

Mohamaad Samad’s innocent sad face mirrors the harsh atrocities of the riots. Surely, a mind-blowing performance! Watch out for him in the final scene. Deepti Naval, too, was fantastic and did a perfect job. Same for Sanjay Suri. Both Suri and Naval essayed a role which was strong and both of them did total justice to it.

Naseeruddin Shah as always gives a splendid performance. Paresh Rawal was perfect as the Gujarati businessman. Tisca Chopra as usual did a great job. It was a great to see her after a long time, after Taare Zameen Par. Nowaz did a fine job and was amazing in the pre-climax. Amruta Subhash as Jyoti was excellent. Raghuveer Yadav, Dilip Joshi, Sumeet Raghavan and Sucheta Trivedi were good.

Rajat Dholakia and Piyush Kanojia’s background score completed suited the mood of the film. Ravi K Chandran, the talented cinematographer who has worked in Ghajini, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Saawariya, Fanaa etc was outstanding. It’s great to see him working in such a film even after having worked in big-budget films.

Gautam Sen’s art direction was authentic. Same can be said for editing and sound design. Dialogues were brilliant and the film also has lots of Gujarati and English dialogues (sub-titles included) to give it a realistic feel.

Nandita Das and Shuchi Kothari wrote the story and screenplay of the film (the latter is from Ahmedabad and had witnessed the riots). Both of them came up with a brilliant plot, based on hundreds of real incidents which took place during the riots. What’s unique about the story is it focuses on the impact of fear, anxiety and prejudices on relationships during such turbulent times and not on the course of the riots.

Nandita Das’ direction was simply awesome. She had already proved her worth as an actor, having acted in many controversial films and being critically acclaimed. Her choice of story for her first film itself is worth applauding. She’ll surely be counted as one of the finest directors of Indian film industry in near future!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1. The first scene
2. All scenes of Shahana’s track
3. Anuradha and Sanjay’s collision
4. Hanif and his aides’s plan to kill Mehul
5. Khan Sahab with the doctor
6. Sameer revealing his fears
7. Sameer at the omlet seller’s
8. Raghuvir Yadav injured
9. Hanif and his aides inside the shop and the chase by the cops
10. The final scene of Mohsin

On the whole, Firaaq is a brilliant docu-drama. It’s well executed and gives a wonderful account of the shameful incident. Some of the scenes shock and hits the viewer like a pile of bricks. It raises several questions, one of which being-is our country really secular?

My rating-**** out of 5!

(This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Firaaq-164253-1.html)