By Arnab Mukherjee(17 Nov 2008)
Firaaq is an Urdu word that means both separation and quest. Separations in the minds and hearts go beyond the physical. And the quest for peace and understanding is our only hope.
Firaaq is an ensemble film that takes place over a 24-hour period; a month after a horrific communal carnage. The film traces the emotional journeys of ‘ordinary people’. A middle class housewife closes the door on a victim and struggles to overcome her guilt. The loyalties of two best friends are tested in the times of fear and suspicion. A bunch of young men having suffered the riots, seek revenge to fight their helplessness and anger. A modern day Hindu-Muslim couple struggles between the instinct to hide their identity and the desire to assert it. A boy desperately searches for his missing father, having lost the rest of his family in the riots. A saintly musician clings on to his idealism, despite all the violence in the city, until an incident shakes his faith. While these stories, at times interconnected and at times discrete, are across class, gender and religion, they are united by their spatial and emotional context.
Firaaq explores the impact of violence on human psyche and relationships. Some characters are victims, some are perpetrators and then there are those who watch silently. Violence spares nobody. Yet in the midst of all this madness, some still sing hopeful songs for better times.