Directed by National Award winner Hansel Mehta, the new thriller FARAAZ releases in North American theaters on February 3. Based on the real-life attack that ravaged a Dhaka cafe, the gripping film is a tense hostage drama that unfolds over one claustrophobic night.
The Great War of civilization cemented its polarization in the post 9/11 world. The horror was psychological as well as empirical in the way it defined the idea of survival and humanity in the upcoming decades.
Islam became a word with multiple connotations, an idea whose very existence manifested itself in war games, geo political reassessment and elections. While the Middle East suffered from modern colonialism, the subcontinent went through its own struggles. “Justice” started being meted out by mobs, kitchens were invaded by parochial attitudes and skull caps and beards became a marker of prejudice.
In this context, in a democratic, largely Islamic country, The month of Ramadan was bloodied by the worst terrorist attack Bangladesh had ever witnessed. Around 8pm, 5 boys entered an upscale restaurant opening fire, killing all a dozen hostages in a matter of a few minutes and taking everyone else hostage.
Mortified nationals were glued to their tv sets as the Holy Artisan bakery in Gulshan, Dhaka, was taken hostage along with 50 odd people. The horror unleashed by the terrorists was beyond brutal. And the irony of it all was that the terrorists shared the same faith as the majority of the country, but their approach was medieval to say the least.
The attackers, in their early 20’s, killed people who did not agree with them or who did not align with their religious beliefs. They were sure that they were on God’s mission and fate had chosen them to accomplish this holy war. The message that they wanted to send to the world was that Bangladesh was its new frontier that needed a lesson in Islam.
What followed was almost 12 hours of a harrowing experience where the hostages were surrounded by death, violence and a skewed idea of a religion that has espoused so many contradictions in the world. Security forces stuck in a quagmire, with emotions running high, the bureaucracy behind dealing with a situation of this magnitude and the prayers of multiple Bangladeshi and empathizers from across the globe hoping that the hostages somehow miraculously come out.
Through the film we see the people behind these staunch rhetorics with their own complexes and hidden agendas. Their shortcomings which guise themselves in the name of holy war and the innocent people who become unfortunate victims of religious extremism.
However, we are the stories we choose to tell the world. This is a story of resilience, resistance and rationality. It’s a story where humanity finds itself on the edge of a cliff, a slight push can make it plunge into divisive chaos, only to find its feet in the face of a grave caveat.
Release Date: February 3
Director: Hansal Mehta
Cast: Zahan Kapoor, Aditya Rawal, Juhi Babbar Soni
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishnan Kumar, Anubhav Sinha, Sahil Saigal, Sakshi Bhatt, Mazahir Mandasaurwala
Film Updates: https://www.facebook.com/RelianceEnt/
Subtitled Trailer: https://youtu.be/aNvVwGAtnLg