Nandita Das

A Response to the Firaaq Controversy

  • March 1, 2009

Firaaq is my directorial debut film, born out of my own anguish and helplessness about the growing divide in our society. The story is set over a 24-hour period, a month after the carnage in Gujarat. It traces the emotional journeys of ordinary people – some who were victims, some perpetrators and some who chose to watch silently. Often films about violence are full of violence that they set out to critique. But my film is about the fierce and delicate emotions that the characters go through. It’s sad that a film with the intent to move towards understanding our troubled times and bringing us closer to a collective healing, is being pushed in a political space.

Cinema, unlike poetry or painting, is not a personal art. You make it to share it with people and I have been waiting for the release that has already been so delayed for factors beyond my control. So, be it Mr. Modi or Mr. Gandhi , or the man on the street or the woman in the college, or whoever, I want everyone to see it. The film is meant for anybody who cares about the world we live in.

It is a pity that my response that there was no specific screening planned for Mr Modi, just as there was none planned for Mr. Gandhi, has been misinterpreted and made into a non- existent controversy. As I write this, I hear from various media people who have been calling me to say that there is a chance that the film will be banned in Gujarat. By doing this, both, the film and the audiences suffer. In Firaaq, I made a conscious choice to not get into finger-pointing but instead hold a mirror to our own emotions in times of fear and violence. I am sure that the audience is mature enough, to decide for themselves and express their appreciation or dislike for how I have chosen to explore the subject. However for this to happen they first need to have the opportunity to watch the film. Let’s not take that right away from them.

Virata Parvam


Director: Udugula Venu

Language: Telugu

Character Name: Shakuntala

Key Cast: Kundan Alexzed, Chakrapani Ananda, Banerjee

Feastivals and Awards: NA

Film Stills: 9

BTS: 11