Thursday, December 08, 2011

MIRAL To Mirage : a (re)view From Real to Reel

I had a chance to watch Miral at a special screening of the film after the inauguration of Flashpoint Film Festival at Alliance Française. Being privileged to be amongst the select few invitees, I picked up the seat with my Swiss-French India-born pal- Nasha to my right and the woman with the sexiest attitude, whom I am extremely fond of – Shobhna of Queer-Ink. As the moon rose the skies in South Bombay, the stars flowed in- tisca chopra, Mahesh Bhatt and Jean-Raphaël Peytregnet Consul General of France in Bombay. Compeered by an actor who has starred in the debut film of Miral's star Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionare)– Arfi Lamba. Mahesh Bhatt stole the thunder with his one liner. I will rather end this review with that. SridharRangayan, the festival director, should receive a humanitarian award for facilitating dialogues on diverse issues that plague our society. Flashpoint Film Festival would screen award-winning films from across the globe that touch upon the important issues that are life-impacting. It will also hold a panel discussion with the film makers. Sridhar mentioned that my friend Vinta Nanda along with Nandita Das and Others would be there to partake in group discussions as panelists.

With events like these Human Rights will always be at the forefront.
 “Discussions are triggered at forums like these, and then transformations happen at dining tables at home”

the transit from somewhere to nowhere.

An address adds rest to your life. Not before would you have felt the comfort of an address. How often have you felt deserted? When was the last time you were lost in the sands of time with no hope of finding a way. You become either a ship that wades through the flood of devastation, or you become a piece of metal that sinks and settles rock bottom. Miral is not a film, it is a mirror. A mirror of human rights. In our very prolific cyber “ www” world, this is a film that speaks about one other www – WHAT WOMEN WANT. Through the myopic lens, not so small than the human mind is, a tale so lucid that elucidates the war and the wrath of the Israelis and Palestinians. 

The cinema revolves around several characters and the film tackles many issues, and guess that is an issue with the film.It is both a boon and a bane, the film doesn't lose its plot, but the ignorant viewer does. The film has several “let’s freeze this frame” moments.
  • Girth and the mirth of a tantalizing belly of a woman who revels as she rebels.
  • The nurse who helps some prisoners of war escape. 
  • The same nurse who wanted to save lives, turns a bomber and coyly goes to a cinema hall and leaves a bomb behind. 

The film steals you with moments, though at places, it loses the momentum.

The French author and philosopher Albert Camus puts it,
"Instead of killing and dying in order to produce the being that we are NOT,
we have to live and let live in order to create what we are."

Living to the spirit of the above quote, powered with a performance – nonpareil is that of Hind Hosseni, played by Hiam Abbass

She literally woke Hind from her grave with her brave performance. Hind is the mother of hope, who mothers children orphaned by war and does it aptly. The determination, the zeal, the zest and the fervour for human rights is all exhibited so very well, that you want to be like her - giving and forgiving. What steals your heart,  is not just the empathy that she exudes to orphaned children like Miral, but the apathy that she embodies when she decides to not take political sides even at the most compelling of situations. She keeps aloof to float her own boat midst the murky waters of the bloody politics of the land.  Her character – spotless, unpreachy, yet full of empathy

For the average joe, I would like to let you know, that don’t go by what the trumpets blow. Well, the best part of the film is not Frieda. Frieda plays the title role. But she is not the one whom you would remember after the film. She plays the orphan who is caught in the web of love and war. She loves the enemy, the police catch her and lash her.
And she continues to date and mate with the enemy. One of my favorite lines which are apt for her character penned by Samuel Taylor:
An orphan's curse would drag to hell, 
a spirit from on high;
but oh! more horrible than that, 
is a curse in a dead man's eye!

But you know, even at these painful moments, she fails to evoke the desired level of empathy in the audience.  I guess the director was too bedazzled by her international ‘diva’ness though slumdog millionaire, that he has her looking like the Frieda of Slumdog yet again. Though it is much marketed as HER film. She is just a director’s moll who does what is expected from her - Listen and Act. She has Indian genes, like mine. But babes, you need to do more to win praise. Too naïve, but does as expected from her. Brings nothing more to the role – frieda. But having said that, I am sure that she will blossom into a fine actress. After all, India is the land of vidya balan. Our actresses are thus a class apart.

As for the dynamics of societal change -
Cinema is just a medium, YOU are the media.

In keeping with the spirit of Flashpoint Film Festival, MaheshBhatt sums it all
‎"When someone points at the moon,
look at the moon,
not at the finger those points"

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