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Parzania not being shown by multiplex owners in Gujarat (review)

February 7, 2007

The movie Parzania inspite of being about Hindu Muslim riots is so balanced I wonder why it is not being released in Gujarat. Yes, the film is based on a true life story of a Parsi boy who was separated from his mother when goondas attacked the predominantly Muslim Gulbarga housing society in Ahmedabad. There is nothing in the movie that is inflammatory. In fact the message of the movie is non-violence with repeated references to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy. Every story has two sides and this film has shown this wonderfully well. In the film good peaceloving people are shown from both communities. Yet the it is felt by some that it will inflame people…and it took the director Rahul Dholakia two years to find a distributer with courage enough to show this film.

However Dholakia (hats off to him for making such an honest movie) has not given up the hope of getting the movie released in the state. The latest news is that multiplexes are saying that they will will not release the film unless they get permission from the Bajrang Dal! Naturally Dholakia is against it as the Bajrang Dal is just a political party and does not have the authority to play the censor board.

So whats with the film?

Well, first of all its a brilliant film. It has a fast feel to it even though a lot of time is spent building up the different characters…but this was necessary as it gives a chance to the audience to fall in love with them. The atmosphere of the small community where the Mody family lives has been brought out very well too. The attention to detail makes us live the lives of the people… a host of people from different religions who all live amicably and happily in a middle-class neighbourhood.

Naseeruddin Shah who plays the bereaved father manages to portray the agony of broken man who has lost his son poignantly and silently- some say its his best performance to date. Sarika who plays Shahnaz the mother, was dignified and I have never seen her act so well. In fact all the characters including the foreigner Corin Nemec (who has come to Ahmedabad to write a thesis on Mahatma Gandhi) and the two kids acted well. The children’s childish prattle was natural, a welcome change from the precocious kids they show in so many movies these days.

Sad movies make me feel all teary…but this one did more than that. It terrified me so much that I felt like sobbing. It was difficult for me to breathe when I saw the rioters rush into the building and start to murder innocent women, men and children – I felt like running out of the theatre. I know the whole theatre was crying with me. Yes, people from all religions, faiths and backgrounds. I sure was glad that they did not show the more horrific acts of violence, or rape…no gory scenes thank god. The details were just mentioned at the hearing later. Overall, the film was decent, without any attempt to sensationalise the issue.

No, it was not entertainment, but a message. A message of non-violence. A story not just of the Hindu Muslim enmity, but about how needless all violence is, and how terrible its consequences. It is about what happens when the state does not protect its citizens, about what happens when police officers are hand in glove with rioters. Is this what theatre owners do not want to show the people? Actually it won’t help. By banning it they have given it great importance. Now most Gujaratis will try see it. There is no dearth of pirated CD’s.

We have to remember that those who have hate in their hearts will be inflamed by any incident anyway. Such people need an excuse, and they will find it. Parzania cannot be blamed. All that Parazania might do is bring guilt and shame to those who actually participated in the riots. And it might make some moderates from both sides who have hate in their hearts to do a re-think about harbouring angry thoughts.

Related Reading: Bollywood

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 8, 2007 3:20 pm

    We should try and see the film in theatres, so that it makes some money and people are motivated to make honest movies like Parzania.Films have a bigger impact on us than any other medium and let us hope efforts like these will help us cure this problem of communalism.

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