Nandita Das will soon have another reason to be proud. The reason – Her directorial debut, Firaaq.
Firaaq is based on fictitious incidents based on the Gujarat riots of 2002. The film depicts the lives of various people, their relationships, emotions and actions after the gory aftermath. Nandita hopes that the film will spark dialogue on a broad variety of important issues such as communal hatred and divisiveness. Firaaq does not show much violence, it depicts with the eventual human tragedy and fallout which occurs afterwards.
Firaaq is an Urdu word that means both separation and quest The film is a work of fiction, based on a thousand stories.
The story is set over a 24-hour period, one month after a carnage that took place in Gujarat, India, in 2002. traces the emotional iourneys of ordinary people – some who were victims, some perpetrators and some who chose to watch silently. As an ensemble film, it follows multiple narratives that are at times interconnected and at times discreet, yet all
are united by their spatial and emotional context.
A middle-class housewife closes the door on a woman desperately seeking refuge, and then struggles to overcome her guilt. The loyalty of two best friends is challenged in times rife with fear and suspicion. A group of victimized young men seek revenge as a way out of their helplessness and a modern day Hindu-Muslim couple struggle between the survival instinct to hide their true identities and the desire to assert them. A boy having lost most of his family in the riots, wanders through the streets searching for his missing father. A saintly musician clings on to his idealism until an evidence of civil strife shakes his faith.
Through these characters we trace the ways in which violence impacts both liner and outer lives. Violence spares nobody. Yet in the midst of this madness, some find it their hearts to sing hopeful songs for better times.
The movie has already recieved recognition and acclaim at various international and national film festivals. In fact, Firaaq won a special award at the 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece, and a special prize conferred by the Minister of Culture and given by the Mayor of Macedonia and also won a cash prize.
“If a film, which is an artist`s creative expression of reality, offends certain people, you can do nothing about it. But you definitely do not want five people to prevent many others from watching the film,” Das said.
The film stars Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Dipti Naval, Raghubir Yadav and Tisca Chopra among others and has already won critical acclaim around the world.It has travelled to film festivals in Telluride (USA), Toronto, Pusan, London, Thessaloniki (Greece), Singapore, Dubai.
Firaaq is slated for release in February 2009.