The upcoming film ‘Unmaad’ meaning 'madness' is all about using religion for political ends and communalising the society for creating vote banks. This phenomenon has been there in the Indian society for a long time, but it’s since past few years it has reached to the majority community and has reached the maddening heights. Therefore goes the title ‘Unmaad'.
The film touches upon many contemporary issues currently raging the Indian society and underlines the fact that fast Indian social system is becoming ‘Unmaad.’
Set in the backdrop of Sharanpur, Western UP, ‘Unmaad’ is a love story woven into the communal matrix that is at its peak in that part of the country. In this film, a Hindu boy with independent thinking falls in love with a Muslim girl. In this, they face practical difficulties, economic compulsions and pressure of social institutions.
In spite of all these difficulties, their love blossoms but, as predicted, the society does not approve their waywardness. This forces the love birds to leave Saharanpur and move to Mumbai where they face another set of problems there.
‘Unmaad’ essentially is a story of ‘love jihad’ in reverse where neither love has accepted defeat, nor the society has got tired opposing them, a situation where even while the wind is blowing, the oil lamp is burning.
The film touches upon the current theme of political polarization of the society such as cow vigilant, mob violence, mob lynching etc. Discussing such sensitive topics as the side story is the hallmark of the movie.
‘Unmad’ is a bold attempt to essay the contemporary human relationship highlighting why such relationship has deteriorated in the recent times. The film asks the question why there is ‘Unmaad’ in the society? Who is responsible for this madness?
The answer comes subtly that this is due the communalisation of the society and the reason brand is the contemporary politics that is responsible for vitiating the social harmony in the country.
Talking about ‘Unmaad’, the director Shahid Kabir in a telephonic interview from Mumbai says that politics has entered into the society so much that it has not even spared the personal religious beliefs of the individuals. It’s since last few years that this intervention of politics into the society has become sharp. It has been able to target the religion believes and practices of people, thus drawing divisive lines in the society. This has resulted in total disharmony in the society.
The resultant systematic polarization of the society has vitiated the interpersonal social relationship that existed from ages now it appears that the adage has been pushed to the edge. Literarily the Indian society is in a state madness or ‘Unmaad.’
The fall out of such madness is the invention of words like ‘love jihad’, ‘mobocracy,’ ‘lynchocracy’ etc. These words are of recent origin and they describe the phenomena of ‘Unmaad’, the director said, adding, what will you call when a crowd is encircling a streets and is entering the houses and the mob is lynching an innocent man? If this is not ‘Unmaad” then it’s what?
When asked about specialty about this film Shahid said, "I have tried to weave the contemporary issues into a love story. Instead of raising violence and stress quotient, I have tried to balance them with entertainment."
There are songs and item number in the film as per the commercial needs. Such things became a necessity because when the audience come out of the halls, they may carry the feeling of love rather than negativity and bitterness haunts their minds.
The film is written and directed by Shahid Kabeer who hails from Saharanpur and graduated from the Mass Communication, Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi.
Shahid has been associated with street plays and theatres for long time in Delhi and now even in Mumbai he is busy doing theaters and film making. He has created a group called ‘Kabera’ with some like minded people who believe in social values. The audience of most his plays are the youth and Children.
Shahid has assisted renowned film director Muzafar Ali and has worked as a Chief Assistant Director in many films such as Saidada Haa, Zindagi on the Rocks, Little Gandhi etc. He has made several short films under the banner ‘Kabera production’ and many of his works are available on the ‘You Tube.’
‘Unmad’ is Sahid’s first film as an independent director. It is made under the joint banner of Kabera Media Entertainment and Aditya Roshan Films. ‘Unmaad’ is getting released on August 10, 2018.
Shahid Kaber is worthy of a congratulatory note for making a sensitive film, especially when the communal tension is at its peak and the social harmony at its rock bottom.
It remains to be seen how the film goes with the audience as the expectations built around political and social concerns are mounting on this film.
The punch line is the issues raised in the film should not be left behind in the cinema halls and the audience may carry them home and the resonance of its discussion should find its way into the society and that way 'Unmaad' may do the course correction of the social fault lines.
[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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