At times when we see humanity getting choked by selfish motives in the name of religion, Zaigham Imam’s NAKKASH dipped in the divine Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb (fusion of Hindu and Muslim elements) is carved with hope and rightly deserves to be tax free across India, feels this author.
“Ya Allah, Kitne Aache Bhagwan Hai” says the 6 – 7 year old Mohammed (Siddu – very good) son of Alla Rakha Siddiqui (Inaamul Haq – brilliant)) an artist, a pious soul who is following his family tradition of designing the interiors of Hindu temples. It’s a proven fact that Muslim artiste carved the interiors of temples –a true depiction of the divine Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb practiced since centuries which is now almost forgotten.
Also read: NAKKASH Movie Review
Yes you hear that divine Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb in ‘sufi’ songs but the fact that ‘Sufiyana’ originated from the divine love of Meera for Krishna and it was Rakshan (Syed Ibrahim Ras Khan) the 15th century born Muslim poet of Pashtun origin who became a devotee of Lord Krishna. In one of his popular verse he says to Lord Krishna , “Manush honn to wahi Rasakhan Basaun sang gokul ganv ke gwaran” (rough translation : If you want to give me human rebirth, make me one of the cowherds in your Gokula).
Coming back to the movie NAKKASH, this sheer korma of kaum (community), dharma ( duty) and dharm (religion) comes at the right time.
Allah Rakha (smart thinking in choosing the name) is torn between the pressures of communities both majority and minority but his faith in humanity is kept intact. The temple head priest Bhagwan Das Vedanti ( Kumud Mishra – exceptional) trusts him and his art. The open-mindedness of Bhagwan Das Vedanti and the simplicity of Allah Rakha serve as the simile of the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb and the movie serves as a mirror to reality that today such amalgamation is losing acceptance very hour.
Right from the first frame director Zaigham Imam is on track as he shows Allah Rakha offering his ‘namaz’ at the ghats of Varanasi. Zaigham’s previous ALIF and DOZAKH IN SEARCH OF HEAVEN where also based in Varanasi and focused upon the rigidness in communities but NAKKASH is much better in its approach, reach and relevance.
The argument on religion is reduced with simple words like, “ God gives what you deserve” and “ When you eat do you bother who has grown your grains – a Hindu or a Muslim?”.
The typical cop played by Rajesh Sharma and the right wing politician played by Pawan Tiwari are the ones that portray the rigid and dangerous mentality that is eating up Indian filament of diversity in unity.
Smad played by Sharib Hashmi is the metaphor of the common man who gets overpowered either by circumstances, cliché understanding of religion or force beyond his control.
The relevance of NAKKASH may be the reason that the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting selected this movie to represent the spirit of secularism at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.
And in my humble opinion, the movie has its flaws it is not a masterpiece which it could have been but there is no second opinion that NAKKASH should travel more in India. The government did a great job in sending it to Cannes but the movie rightly demands more attention in India, The government should make it tax free.
NAKKASH is a cinema carved with hope, the divine Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb needs to sung and heard with an echo, it deserves a tax free status so that in future makers like Zaigham Imam can fearlessly melt the rich gold of Indian culture and tradition on the celluloid for good like Alla Rakha does to decorate the house of ‘bhagwan’ (God) in the temple and make them look so beautiful. But unfortunately, it is vanishing from theaters…