Raj Singh Puri is best friends with L.K. Malhotra who is in turn younger brother to J.K. Malhotra. The brothers are business tycoons and Raj works in their company. Raj is father to three ... See full summary »
The Kapoor family are very rich Indians who live in India and want their eldest daughter, a girl named Sanjana, to get married to an American-Indian businessman named Prem. Prem is welcomed... See full summary »
Six years after Fiza's (Karisma Kapoor) brother, Aman (played by Hrithik Roshan) disappears during the 1993 Mumbai riots, she goes to look for him. When she does find him, to her horror she sees that he has joined a terrorist group. She forces him to come home, and he finally re-unites with their mother (played by Jaya Bachchan). However his allegiance and thoughts make him want to join the terrorist network, led by Murad Khan (Manoj Bajpai). A confrontation with two men who harass Fiza leads to Aman revealing his involvement with the terrorist network in front of his sister, mother and the police. His mother's grief and disappointment eventually lead her to commit suicide. Fiza tries once more to find her brother, with the help of Anirudh (Bikram Saluja). Aman has been sent on a mission to kill two powerful politicians; when he does succeed in assassinating them, his own terrorist group tries to kill him. He escapes and Fiza follows him. They confront each other and with the police ... Written by
First time director Khalid Mohammed, who is a respected film critic, dons on a new cap and displays to Indian cinema what can be achieved visually in a film, and how a plot can take its audience to high expectations. This newly developed plot, with characteristics and representations that is very much three dimensional and anti-stereotype, commends the director for his skills as a film-maker.
Its very rare to find an woman, displayed on the moving canvas, as independent, strong and intelligent. Films like Mother India (1965), Bandit Queen (1996), Roja (1993), Hazzar Churasi Ki Maa (1998) and The Terrorist (1998/1999) are examples and the movie Fiza (2000) joins such list. Here the main character called Fiza, played wonderfully by Karishma Kapoor, is seen as such. Fiza is a woman presented in a material world that profits from politics and religion, a male dominated environment. Fiza, which means seasons, goes out in a dangerous world to find her brother, who is in contrast to Fiza as we soon learn.
Amman, played convincingly by the talented Hrithik Roshan, is seen as rather weak willed, easy to command over and psychologically unbalanced while finding his own identity. Even though he is built as a strong man through his physicality, his inner strength is weak and Fiza knows this. This forms part of the reason for his search when she leans that he is has associated with a terrorist group and the justification for this is rather strong. It also shows that man is not as perfect as they think to be and really brings out a new representation of them in this Indian film.
The characteristic of the mother, played by the wonderful theatrical actor Jaya Bachchan, is also similar to Fiza which has been fully developed making audiences emotionally bonded with her. This is due to her growing up in the times of post independence when women were considered to be below the male species in India. Living throughout two generations she carries both ideologies of the past and present seen through her own eyes. While respecting her religion very thoroughly, she is seen to be very close to her children and loves them dearly. This adds another reason why Fiza needs to find her brother, to make sure that her mother remains strong like her and that her believes that her son is still alive is true.
Yet when she sees the real colors of her son, she is dismayed and admits defeat. Sadly she commits suicide as a result. Many audience found this to be rather 'Indian cinema'. Yet to me it makes sense why the director took this path. She is a product of the past, and of faith. When she realizes that her faith of bringing Amman had failed in her eyes, she cannot face herself and as a result dies. If Fiza had a son, like Amman and the same circumstances happened in the future then Fiza would be able to cope with this as society is much more open then it was when Nishatbi was growing up. Clearly the director has thought-out the characters past, present and future rather wonderfully and intelligent audience who capture this understand engage in the film more deeply then what the film offers us on the surface.
There are moments when the film does play on stereotypes with the ministers, leaders, hit men and media, and this could have been improved upon. Yet these Indian cinema conventions manage to work within this screenplay as it is very brief and never dwelled upon. Other minor disappointments with the movie is the way songs come into the narrative structure making this film seem more apt-able for commercial cinema audiences. Dances, glamor and overly high modern songs seen in this film don't agree with the overall narrative jarring the viewing senses and prolonging time. The song only applicable for the film would be 'Piya Haji Ali', beautifully composed by A.R. Rahman, and the song 'Mere Watan' composed by Ranjit Barot as they help with the film's screenplay.
Now that I have talked about the content of the film lets ponder over the technical values, all of which are breathtaking. Cinematography by Santosh Sivan is excellent throughout capturing the images and light effects with perfection, while art design work is also very realistic and helps with the overall look of the film. Editing is also rather good and manages to blend the scenes rather well never deviating from the core matter, just wish those useless songs were edited out.
The film is an interesting concept from the new director and displays that his future work will be something all audiences will view with high expectations. But the director must move away from the 20 year old conventions we have seen in all of Indian films, in order to achieve something properly intellectual. Still Fiza is a good movie with brilliant characters, acting and technical credits.
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