I found Firaaq to be surprisingly a very good film. I was initially skeptical, as I do not usually like multiple narrative films (like Traffic and Babel). However, this did do a lot of things right. I didn’t find the switching of the narratives to be at all confusing, and it give the characters with more emotional weight the proper amount of screen time, such as Arati, Sameer, and Moshin. I actually liked the blending of languages (though I can’t tell the difference between English and everything else), although I did think it odd, as it’s something not commonly seen in American culture.
I did have some criticisms though. I did not like how the movie ended, as I felt it was a very cheap way to keep the “indie film” feel alive, though the movie did not need it. I think that more closure was needed with some of the characters. Leaving a bit of interpretation is fine, but too much just leaves too many questions. What is the fall-out of Hanif being assaulted (did he die?), leaving behind a wife and newborn? What was the deal with the marbles? Is Aarti coming back or going for good? For someone like me that has a very limited knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, I think some of these questions should have been dealt with.
Overall, it is a great and powerful film that is equal parts drama and thriller. It has its flaws, but what it does well it excels in. In hindsight, I’m so glad this movie was suggested over Slumdog Millionaire. After all, winning an Oscar doesn’t mean your movie is enjoyable (The English Patient. Trust me, it really sucks).
Rating: 7.5 out of 10