Sunday, January 16, 2005

Khamosh Pani 

Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumer’s Khamosh Pani comes with high international acclaim and a couple of acting awards for Kirron Kher. Made with a crew comprising Indians, Germans, French and others, the film is a moving plea for peace and tolerance from a woman’s point of view.

Interestingly Khamosh Pani takes off from where Pinjar (Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s acclaimed film) ends. In Pinjar, a woman abducted by a Muslim man is left behind in Pakistan. She converts to Islam and chooses to stay back with her husband even when she has a chance to return to her family in India—the family that had given her up for dead to preserve the family’s ‘honour’.Ayesha of Khamosh Pani (played with remarkable serenity by Kirron Kher) could be Puro of Pinjar 20 years later. Ayesha has integrated completely into her Pakistani village and accepted her Islamic identity—she even teaches the Koran to little girls. But her young son is swayed by the rabid rhetoric of fundamentalist politicians and suddenly changes from a sweet romantic flute-playing boy to a gun-toting angry young man.

To compound Ayesha’s tragedy, her long-lost brother comes as a pilgrim, and lands up at her doorstep, reminding her of the horrific times of Partition, when men had massacred their women to prevent then from falling into the hands of the ‘enemy’. Young Veero had escaped, comes to terms with the trauma and lived on as Ayesha. Now in the eyes of her son and his militant friends she is a ‘Kafir’ again—once again in danger of having her painstakingly built identity snatched away.What is immediately striking (and daring) about the film (written by Paromita Vohra)is that it is concerned with the resurgence of fundamentalism in Pakistan in the Zia era—there is no anti-India tirade.

It may be difficult for people outside of Pakistan to understand the exact reasons for why a normal, happy young man would be lured into a band of zealots, but audiences everywhere have understood the pain of Ayesha, the confusion of her son’s beloved Zubeida who is pushed away by him, and the fear in the eyes of the young girls watching the walls of their school building being raised by men who want to ‘protect’ them. No matter what brand of religious fanaticism it may be, the women always suffer most.Khamosh Pani does not have a happy ending and holds out no false hopes about things improving for women in any fundamentalist society, but since the film was made last year, there has been a dramatic change in Indo-Pak relations—it is as if the tragedy of women like Ayesha (and Puro) has finally given peace a chance.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker