Black & White: a movie on Islamic terrorism with a different end

Last updated on May 12, 2008

Posted on May 12, 2008

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Last night I watched Black & White – a Subhash Ghai movie. It is a story of a boy from Afghanistan whose parents are killed in some bombings and is finally recruited into terrorism by the vast network of ISI and then tranferred to India (Delhi specifically) with papers establishing that he is from Gujarat and his parents died there and that he is in Delhi looking for a job.

He stays with some young guys who are his local contacts who live with their grandfather Gaffar Bhai – played by theater veteran Habib Tanvir. Anil Kapoor is Professor Mathur a professor of Urdu at Dr. Zakir Hussain College and can recite verses from Quran and explain them as well.

His wife is a social worker who lands up in soup all the time with her forthrightness. Anurag Sinha plays the terrorist young guy named Numair Qazi. He is very focused and lands in Delhi in the first week of August with the mission to blow himself up on Independence Day and has planned everything well. He has a certain version of Islam and does not feel any remorse in shooting his own team members for transgressing that interpretation of Islam. He looks very believable with his intense eyes and very powerful dialog delivery.

The film is about the transformation of this young focused fundamentalist Muslim boy whose only mission is to kill the Kafirs and Hindus because they are anathema to Islam. Even Shagufta a beautiful girl played by Aditi Sharma who falls in love with Numair does not change him.

Roma, played by Shefali Shah (brilliantly), is the main character who brings about that transformation. Finally it is her death by friends of Numair the night of August 14 and Professor Mathur’s reaction that completely puts him in the quandry.

On the appointed day and time.. he chooses not to blow himself up. Police chase him but Professor Mathur lets him escape by intruding against the police.

When the media paints Mathur as a terrorist sympathizer and he is in the courts, Shagufta approached Professor Mathur and asks him why he saved Numair from the police and let him escape when he knew that he was a terrorist? She says, that she would have shot him even though she loved her so much. The reply of Professor Mathur is the most stunning I have ever heard!

“They made a suicide bomber of a normal kid and sent to India to kill us; we made a normal young man of a suicide bomber and sent him back”. Sometimes, it seems revenge is not always the best answer.

There are some inconsistencies in the movie – for example, he escapes from Red Fort (center of Delhi) and just jumps over a mud hill and the director wants us to believe that he somehow reached Pakistan right away. And then he sends an email endorsing Prof Mathur’s view through the address and IP coordinates that terrorists use to send admissions.. that is totally unbelievable!

In any case a brilliant movie and very good message. It seems that Anil Kapoor wants to transcend to some better cinema from the usual commercial nonsense. I saw his Calcutta mail today as well.. so things are achanging for him!

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