• Kimberly Salako 

A movie is a forum for a person to tell their story to be it fictional or non-fictional. It is created to shake your very well being and makes you wake up to the world outside your window. It shows you that the world of cinema is not just for one’s entertainment. So what happens when a story, which is both non-fictional and true in nature causes a widespread of hatred towards a certain community or rather two in particular. Building up a climax that bursts open delivering a major impact on the people, Parzania is a movie that caused various individuals to think and realise that the world is not as simple as we know it. Bases on the Gujarat Riots, the movie is a true story that centres around the disappearance of a Parsi ten-year-old child who gets caught in the crossfire between the Hindus and the Muslims. Both the Hindus as well as the Muslims come from communities that are extremely steadfast in their ways of thinking and are more inclined to act fast than anything else. This is really clear in the movie as bodies are burned and women are raped. One thing that a person would notice was that a riot gave the people an unofficial permission to do what they liked well aware that there will be retaliation coming their way. It raises the question of whether the people are actually aware of the disaster that they are causing in the name of religion or rather they are doing it because someone else is.

During all this, we see Allan, an American who is looking for internal peace. His understanding of why the riots are happening soon becomes centred around hatred that was it an Indian, he would be classed as a bias man. The fact that a foreigner was able to tell this story from his own point of view and understanding, allows many people to see that the Gujarat Riots is not something that has passed over with time. The heartache that the boy’s family goes through after finding themselves in the midst of something that they are not a part of is seen when the father breaks down crying and the mother tries her best to comfort him. The movie started on a happy note showing how a peaceful and quiet day could end up in such a disaster within a few hours. The riots play an important part of the movie, however, the movie mainly focuses on the disappearance of Parzaan and the grief and endless searching his family went through as the riots carried on in the background. Trying to stay safe, they seek refuge from an ex-parliamentarian which only causes them to become embedded further as said ex-parliamentarian is one of the individuals whose deaths are number one among the dead and who suffered a torturous death.

Leaping from balconies and attempting daring stunts to ensure the safety of her family, Shanaz (Parzaan’s mother) shows that the extent of a mother’s love knows no bounds and that she would do all she can to make sure her family remains alive. The disappearance of her son causes her to reach new heights to make sure he returns safely. Doing the impossible to make sure her daughter makes it to safety only to find out her son is missing is something that can cause any parents’ heart to break. With the help of Allan, they attempt and go through various sources to locate their son. However, with the riots still brewing in the background this becomes close to impossible. Bodies of men and women burning everywhere is something that Allan doesn’t see everyday especially his front-row view of it. This is something that would leave a person scarred for life.

In a way, the movie makes us question our sense of faith and religion as if one was to sympathise with either the Muslims or the Hindus, it begs the question of why not the other. No, imagine a family caught between these two communities that in fact follow a completely different religion. Parzaan’s family, who are neither Muslims nor Hindus, allows us to see the indifference these two religions had towards others. The consequences of their actions are not only felt by them but also by other people that live in the same environment. Bringing into focus that one’s faith is something that governs a person to such extreme and is even able to influence the very foundation of our society and our government.


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