Film Review – Shorgul

shorgul_r copyBased on the 2013 Muzzafarnagar riots, the film is upon us finally. Reportedly banned in parts of UP, Shorgul is the story of a Hindu boy Raghu in love with a Muslim girl Zainab (debutante Suha Gezen), who breaks into a toothy smile whenever the camera is focused on her.

For good measure, we have the conscientious politician Choudhary (Ashutosh Rana) – must have been mentally taxing on the writers to have thought of such a character – as Raghu’s father. Would have been a near perfect love story had there not been Salim, who is infatuated with Zainab’s toothy smile.

Then there’s Home Minister Alam Khan, who’s one of those who incite the faithful with their fiery speeches. Sample this – ‘Killing a kaafir is akin to safeguarding the tenets of Islam’. This brings the Minister into direct conflict with the righteous Chief Minister Mithilesh Yadav (Sanjay Suri in a striking resemblance to the current UP CM).

Rounding off the main cast is the wily MLA Ajay Bhaiyya (Jimmy Shergill), whose political existence depends hugely on fanning communal hatred. Raghu’s killing is the cue for the filmmakers to suffuse the latter half with gory communal violence. And if you wondered whether names like CM Mithilesh Yadav, Home Minister Alam Khan sound familiar, you’re dead right. Analogies to the Babri Masjid demolition, Kashmir violence and Godhra riots too are liberally doled out.

There are no great production values, no award-winning performances – the twist in the tale is a redeeming feature.

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