''A work of fiction based on a thousand true stories.' That's a line that hits you hard, which comes on screen before the movie begins. And when a truckload of dead bodies is emptied in a Muslim graveyard, the reality of fiction strikes a chord!
Nandita Das who makes her debut as a director does not dwell on one telling moment. That's the forte of this movie; it makes a point, then moves on, leaving you to draw your own conclusions. And FIRAAQ is a compilation of many such true stories, which has helped this work of fiction. One look and you can see that there has been a lot of research gone into this project. The people who have been highlighted, be it the Muslim husband and his Hindu wife who are preparing to relocate to Delhi; or the Hindu wife battling with guilt for not opening her doors to a helpless woman chased by a mob; or even the little boy, Mohsin, who walks aimlessly on the streets in search of his father, after his entire family has been murdered.
The movie ends abruptly with the little boy walking into a transit camp, refusing to play with children his age and looking aimlessly at the camera as the lights go out.
The film is based on a 24-hour period; one month after the riots broke out in Gujarat. Most of the stories have no connection with the other; they are individual set pieces, designed to drive home the point of the hopelessness of hate and violence. Of its disastrous after-effects, of the deep, traumatic mental scars it leaves behind. It also drives home the point of 'mob mentality', which has no meaning or direction.