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Directed byNandita Das
Written byNandita Das
Shuchi Kothari
Produced byPercept Picture Company
StarringNaseeruddin Shah
Sanjay Suri
Raghubir Yadav
Deepti Naval
Paresh Rawal
Shahana Goswami
Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Tisca Chopra
Dilip Joshi
Amruta Subhash
CinematographyRavi K. Chandran
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Percept Picture Company
Release dates
  • 5 September 2008 (2008-09-05) (TIFF)
  • 20 March 2009 (2009-03-20) (India)
Running time
112 minutes

Firaaq (English: Separation) is a 2008 Indian Hindi-language drama film written and directed by Nandita Das. It is set one month after the 2002 violence in Gujarat, India and looks at the aftermath in its effects on the lives of everyday people. It claims to be based on "a thousand true stories". Firaaq means both separation and quest in Arabic. The film is the directorial debut of actress Nandita Das[1][2] and stars Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Inaamulhaq, Nassar, Paresh Rawal, Sanjay Suri, Raghubir Yadav, Shahana Goswami, Amruta Subhash and Tisca Chopra.

The film has largely been well received locally and internationally. Firaaq won three awards at the Asian Festival of First Films in Singapore in December 2008, the Special Prize at the International Thessaloniki Film Festival, and an award at the Kara Film Festival in Pakistan. It won two National Film Awards at 56th National Film Awards. The film was banned in Gujarat owing to the communally sensitive subject of the film.[3]


Firaaq follows the life of several ordinary people, some who were victims, some silent observers, and some perpetrators one month after the 2002 violence in Gujarat. It focuses on how their lives are affected and (irrevocably) changed.

The story is set over a 24-hour period, one month after a carnage that took place in Gujarat, India in 2002. This sectarian violence killed more than 900 Muslims and 300+ Hindus (reported), hundreds of thousands were made homeless on both sides.

Khan Saheb (Naseeruddin Shah) is an elderly Muslim classical vocalist, who remains blissfully optimistic of the situation happening around him. His servant, Karim Mian (Raghubir Yadav), tries to alert him to the problems the Muslim community is facing, but Khan Saheb only realises the extent of the trauma upon seeing the destruction of a shrine dedicated to the Sufi saint, Wali Gujarati. A middle-age Hindu housewife, Aarti (Deepti Naval), is traumatised because she did not help a Muslim woman being chased by a mob and finds a way to atone for her sins upon finding Mohsin, a Muslim orphan who wanders the city in search for his family. Meanwhile, her husband, Sanjay (Paresh Rawal), and his brother, Deven (Dilip Joshi), try to bribe police officers to prevent Deven's arrest for gang-rape. Muneera (Shahana Goswami) and her husband Hanif (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), are a young Muslim couple who return home only to find it looted and burnt. Muneera struggles to relate to her Hindu neighbour Jyoti (Amruta Subash) in the following days, as she suspects her for taking part in the looting. Hanif, along with several other Muslim men, plan to retaliate against the violence and their helplessness by searching for a gun to exact revenge. Sameer Shaikh (Sanjay Suri) and Anuradha Desai (Tisca Chopra) are a wealthy, interreligious couple, whose store was burnt during the carnage. They decide to move to Delhi to escape the violence and Sameer comes into conflict with his wife's family over expressing his identity as a Muslim in India.

Through these characters we experience the consequences of violence that impact their inner and outer lives. Violence spares nobody. Yet in the midst of all this madness, some find it in their hearts to sing hopeful songs for better times.[4]



Composed by Piyush Kanojia and Rajat Dholakia, the lyrics of the songs are penned by Gulzar.

1."Meri Gali Mein Andhera"Sukhvinder Singh03:43
2."Gujarat Ke Firaaq Soon Hai"Jagjit Singh06:46
3."Ummeed Ab Kahi Koi Dar Kholti Nahi"Rekha Bhardwaj05:41
4."Daag Daag Ujaala"Faiz Ahmed Faiz02:10
5."Kuchh is Tarah"Mohit Chauhan, Tulsi Kumar04:44


Firaaq won top honours at the Asian Festival of First Films 2008 in Singapore, where it won the awards for "Best Film", "Screenplay / Script", and "Foreign Correspondents Assn. Purple Orchid Award for Best Film".[5][6] The film has won awards at other international festivals, including the Special Prize award at the International Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece, the Special Jury Award at the International Film Festival of Kerala, and the Best Editor award for Sreekar Prasad at the Dubai International Film Festival.[7] It won an award at the Kara Film Festival in Pakistan. Gautam Sen for "its perfect use of props and choice of colours to enhance the ambience of a post-riots" won National Film Award for Best Art Direction. A. Sreekar Prasad also won a National Film Award for "aesthetically weaving together unrelated sequences to heighten the dramatic impact" in the Best Editing category at the 56th National Film Awards.[8][9]

It was released in India on 20 March 2009 and received critical acclaim.[10] Taran Adarsh in his review of the film on Bollywood Hungama called it disturbing, powerful and thought-provoking and gave it 4.5 stars out of five.[11]

Professional reviews
Review Scores
Source Rating
Bollywood Hungama[11]
Movie Talkies[15]
Outlook India[16][17]
The Times of India[18]

Awards and honours[edit]

2009 Kara Film Festival
  • Won – Best Film
2008 Asian Festival of First Films
  • Won – Best Film
  • Won – Best Screenplay
  • Won – Foreign Correspondents Association Purple Orchid Award for Best Film
2009 International Film Festival of Kerala
  • Won – Special Jury Award
2009 International Thessaloniki Film Festival
  • Won – Special Prize (Everyday Life: Transcendence or Reconciliation Award)
  • Nominated – Golden Alexander for Best Film
19th Cinequest Film Festival San Jose, USA (2009)
  • Won – The Maverick Spirit Award
56th National Film Awards (2009)
55th Filmfare Awards (2010)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  2. ^ "The Indian Express". 20 March 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  3. ^ "15 Indian Movies That Got Banned By The Censor Board". ScoopWhoop. 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Patrick Frater (10 December 2008). "'Firaaq' scoops Asian fest honors: Indian film picks up multiple awards". Variety. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  6. ^ Firaaq wins best film award at Asian Festival of 1st Films. Indiantelevision. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  7. ^ "PPC's FIRAAQ wins five International Awards". Bollywood Trade News Network. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
  8. ^ "56th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Archived from the original (pdf) on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  9. ^ "56th National Film Awards (PDF)" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  10. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2 July 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  11. ^ a b Taran Adarsh (20 March 2009). "Firaaq – Critics Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  12. ^ Rajeev Masand (21 March 2009). "Masand's movie review: Firaaq is a must watch". IBN Live. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  13. ^ Martin D'Souza (Bollywood Trade News Network) (20 March 2009). "Firaaq Movie Review". Glamsham. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Is Our Country Really Secular?". 24 March 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  15. ^ "There is light beyond the darkness in this movie by Nandita Das". Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  16. ^ Namrata Joshi. "Firaaq". Outlook India. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  17. ^ Sukanya Verma (20 March 2009). "Hats off to you, Nandita Das". Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  18. ^ Nikhat Kazmi (19 March 2009). "Firaaq – Critic's review". Times of India. Retrieved 16 April 2012.

External links[edit]