FIZA – In search of her brother

For all those movie buffs who needed a breath of fresh air from the Bombay film industry, its time for you to smile after a long time. Fiza is probably the saving grace of this year’s Bollywood season. Fiza belongs to the league of Mani Ratnam’s Bombay, Ramgopal Varma’s Satya or John Matthew Mathan’s Sarfrosh, in as much as it weaves solid, relevant fiction onto the canvas of reality. It is a depiction of the humanistic drama amidst communal/political and racial turmoil.

The scene is set in post-Mumbai riots. Like many others, the disastrous riots have had a strong impact on Nishatbi’s (Jaya Bachchan’s) happy household. Her son Amaan (Hrithik Roshan) disappears which is when the film’s equilibrium is shaken.

Mohammed draws a touching picture of how the devastated mother and daughter live each day hoping against hope that Amman will return. After waiting long enough for her brother in deep anguish, Fiza (Karisma Kapoor) takes it on her to search for her much-loved brother. And when Fiza finds her brother, she is only more traumatized to see who he has become. Amman has unwittingly got engulfed in the disruptive forces of the Mumbai riots and has joined hands with terrorism. Without any clichés, Mohammad has been careful in presenting the circumstances that go into the making of a terrorist.

What’s more impressive is the drawing up of the portrait of the political and media forces that control society, as discovered through the eyes of Fiza. A strong and blunt social statement has been made on the savage behavior on the streets and the kind of hollow hypocrisy that runs it.

Not that the film does not have its flaws. For instance, in a film, which has such an introspective story, commercial liberties were not really required. Aman’s Tandav sequence was a good watch but when put in the context of the film it was unnecessary. The Taandav was the preparation for the boy’s final murderous mission. Now, you definitely do not need to pump iron and take karate training when all you have to do at the end of it, is assassinate two corrupt ministers from a distance with a telescopic gun! Though it must be said that the Taandav and Sushmita’s dance sequence has been very helpful in bagging a larger audience. Also, Fiza has not been as original as Mohammad claimed it would be. Strong Shadows of the 80’s Hollywood (Missing, Mississippi burning) and 90’s Bollywood (Naseem and Bombay) are clearly a part of this film.

Admittedly though, the overt impact of Mani Ratnam’s style from Bombay in film making complemented well by Santosh Sivan’s camera in depicting riot scenes to the T have given Fiza its strong appeal.

Fiza has not only proved critic turned writer, Mohammad’s skill in filmmaking. (Though he has displayed lack in the plot of the story). It has had a lot to prove even in terms of the main characters, Karisma and Hrithik. The film is character driven. It is about Karisma Kapoor proving that she is an actress of substance. It is about Hrithik making it a point to tell his audience that glitz is not the end of the world for him. Jaya Bachchan’s delightful face has lit up the screen no doubt and Manoj Bajpai’s twenty minutes short entry has left an impact not to be forgotten.

And last but not the least, Anu Malik’s music has imparted melodious dhuns to hum after you have watched the film, with his musical magic in Fiza

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