IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community Vilakudy Days: PALESTINE PACKS THE PUNCH

Vilakudy Days

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


The Palestinian package, aptly titled ‘Dreams of a Nation’, came as a real humdinger at the ongoing Mumbai International Film Festival. The aspirations of a nation thinking of peace and a world without war and calamities were pictured in a poignant way by Rashid Masharawi and Michel Khleifi, two of the most-celebrated filmmakers there. While Rashid’s Curfew – the first-ever movie shot at Gaza Strip – narrates a 24-hour curfew period, his Haifa deals with the psychological and emotional impact of the Israeli occupation. The other movies were Canticle of Stones and Tale of Three Jewels. Though places like West Bank and Gaza Strip are always in news, the world will be shocked to watch the state of affairs there. The first shot of Gaza in Curfew left me dazed: it looked like Dickensian slums. From a top-angle shot, it looked like Dharavi. The films’ documentary narrative is fully justified as it throws open a hitherto unknown facets to the world. Cuddled under dilapidated structures, a generation lives and yearns for a country of their own. From the films, I learnt, the radio is the most important possessions of a Palestine family. Every crackling on the radio is being listened with hopes of a landmark peace deal in Tel Aviv or Washington. Not a day passes in the ‘self-administered’ Palestine without staccato of Israeli gunfire, which packs hospitals with paraplegics. Despite such lugubrious clouds hanging over their nationhood, it was heartening to know from the movies that they all have a common passion: football. And they all loved, respected and trusted only one leader: the late Yasser Arafat. Arafat has gone and Hamas has taken over the reigns. But the idea of Palestine, and the country, lies in ruins.

The ‘Indian Vista’ evoked mixed reactions. Though there were not many takers for
films other than Hindi, the regional movies presented a different picture. Achuvinte Amma, the first Malayalam movie to have screened, should not have screened at the festival. It is an ordinary, but popular film. Another Malayalam movie, Daivanamathil, directed by national award-winning director Jayaraj, deals with the contemporary state of Kerala Muslims. While a section of them has taken to terrorist activities especially in the aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition, many of them advocate a peaceful coexistence and root for a secular India. The efforts of a young educated Samira with the help of a liberal grandfather to bring her husband back from the brink of puritanical fundamentalism are reflective of the progressive outlook of most Muslim families in Kerala, where they constitute a major percentage of the population. Producer and scriptwriter Aryadan Shoukath, a Muslim himself, had earlier written for Padam Onnu Oru Vilapam (Lesson One: A Wail). And that was much powerfully conceptualised. In a land of Kunhalikutty (accused in a sex scandal) and Madani (accused in Coimbatore serial blasts), Kerala needs more Shoukaths.


Blogger Edward Ott said...

Thanks for these great movie reviews, i will try and check some of them out.


3:38 PM  
Blogger Shobha said...

All I will say is that some people have all the luck in the world. Grrr :p

10:28 AM  

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