Usually there are movies which inspire you, then there are movies which make you happy, there are movies which makes you thinks, there are even movies which would make you cry (usually emotional ones do that 🙂 ) and finally there are those movies which are in your face.
However, khamosh pani is a movie which shows you truth, a fact which even if you wish to forget and believe that it doesnot exists, the truth just doesnot vanishes away. Watching this movie was like going to a place which you are not supposed to go, a forbidden one (I guess that is the reason Pakistan banned this movie). This movie is beyond hard-hitting, something which is said “zehn mein bethjana” which may translate into “Plays with your conscious“. It echos those fears which are unsaid and situations which are definitely at best tried to avoid. (I think this because I saw this movie just into my college life where you are trying new things and suddenly you find something which blows you away, so even though it might be a good movie (and might not affect me much now) if I watch it today, but for a young naive lad, it came as a rude shock or a revelati0n if we could use that word).
Those who would watch this movie or have watched it will understand the intensity of it.
The story starts in 1979 Pakistan, the non-radicalized Pakistan and during Zia-ul-Haq‘s regime which made the ideological Pakistan of today (inshort a Pakistan whose ideology is religious fundamentalism and terrorism, where intolerance towards minority is there, where Military is supreme over civil administration). The main protagonist of the story veero/Ayesha (kirron kher) stays at a village near Rawalpindi,Pakistan. Here she gives quran lecture to children of village. She never goes to village well. She has a go lucky son saleem from her marriage. Her husband is long dead and she lives of his pension.
During this time sikh pilgrims arrive for their annual pilgrimage. There is one man who is in search for his sister who went missing in the 1947 riots. He tries to talk to local people (but with lot of caution) about status of such women who were left behind and in particular about his sister. It leads him to the door of Ayesha, but the son confronts the sikh man. Upon finding it that her mother was born sikh, the son saleem becomes confused and hostile. In the meanwhile there is trouble brewing by the recent hanging of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by the new military ruler, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who has promised to enforce Islamic law and encourages Islamic missionary and political groups to spread Islamism across Pakistan.
Two activists from an Islamist group come to the village, and supported by the village “Choudhary” (landlord), start spreading their message of Islamic zealotry and gain recruits to fight the then-impending Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The older men in the village react with disdain for their message of intolerance and puritanism, express cynicism at Zia’s continual postponement of democratic elections and are angered when the activists accuse them of being un-Islamic and traitors. Although they struggle among the older village men, the activists soon gain a following among the village youth. Ayesha’s son saleem also get affected and joins them. Things go from bad to worse and saleem transforms into a radical. His trip to city is also a reason for it (where those mullahs are preaching brain washing stuff on loudspeakers).
Zubeida (played by Shilpa Shukla), the girl whom saleem loves sees his transformation from a simple boy to a radical and is alarmed. There is a scene where saleem is constructing wall around the girl’s school to protect them from unwanted element (in short the first step towards purdhah).
The rest of the part is to be watched by the reader, as I donot wish to spoil it. One can find the entire movie on youtube but cut into parts ofcourse. I am providing the link to first part on youtube, for rest the reader can navigate. Just for the record it is not just women film or Pakistani film. I believe it is a movie on 1947 and its after math. Those who wish to call it a woman only film, I believe is doing gross injustice to the movie. It is a must watch who wish to understand how fundamentalist politics destroys lives.