Unfreedom: The Film That Exposes the Hypocrisy and Violence of Religious Fundamentalism and Homophobia - Best Adult Web Series
Unfreedom: A Controversial and Banned Film About Identity and Freedom
Unfreedom is a 2014 Indian drama film directed by Raj Amit Kumar, which was released in North America on 29 May 2015. The film tells two separate stories: one is about a Muslim terrorist who comes to New York City to kill a controversial Muslim scholar, the other is about a Hindu woman who is supposed to marry a man chosen by her father but who is actually a lesbian. The film was inspired by Faiz Ahmad Faiz's poem "Ye Dagh Dagh Ujala", which means "This Stained Dawn".
The film was banned in India by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which refused to certify it for public release. The CBFC demanded cuts to the film, which the director rejected. He appealed to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), but the authorities upheld the ban. The film was accused of being vulgar, offensive, inflammatory, and anti-national. The film tackles issues such as religious extremism, sexual violence, homophobia, censorship, and human rights.
The film explores themes such as unfreedom, identity, violence, love, and faith. It shows how different forms of oppression affect individuals and society. It also shows how people resist or succumb to unfreedom in different ways. It challenges the viewers to question their own beliefs and prejudices. It also raises questions about freedom of expression, tolerance, diversity, and justice.
The Story of Hussain and Fareed
Hussain is a young Muslim man who lives in New York City. He was once a student of Fareed Rahmani , a liberal Muslim scholar who advocates for peace and dialogue among religions. Fareed is also Hussain's father's friend. However, Hussain becomes radicalized by an extremist group led by Malik , who convinces him that Fareed is an apostate who must be killed.
Hussain kidnaps Fareed from his home and takes him to a warehouse, where he tortures him physically and psychologically. He accuses Fareed of betraying Islam and supporting America's war on Muslims. He also reveals his personal grudge against Fareed, who he blames for his father's death. Fareed was supposed to meet Hussain's father in Pakistan, but he canceled the trip at the last minute. Hussain's father was killed by a drone strike shortly after.
Fareed tries to reason with Hussain and remind him of their past relationship. He also challenges Hussain's interpretation of Islam and exposes the flaws in his logic. He argues that Islam is a religion of peace and compassion, not of violence and hatred. He also questions Hussain's loyalty to Malik, who he suspects is using him for his own agenda.
The outcome of their confrontation is tragic and ironic. Hussain fails to kill Fareed, but he is killed by Malik, who shoots him in the head. Malik then escapes with the help of a corrupt FBI agent, who was working with him all along. Fareed is left alone in the warehouse, wounded and traumatized. He realizes that he has lost his former student and friend, and that he has failed to prevent the cycle of violence.
The Story of Leela and Sakhi
Leela is a Hindu woman who lives in Delhi. She is supposed to marry a man named Jatin , who is chosen by her father Devraj . Devraj is a powerful politician and a religious fanatic, who wants to impose his conservative views on society. However, Leela is secretly in love with Sakhi , a Muslim woman who works as a journalist.
Leela struggles with her sexuality and her family expectations. She tries to please her father and conform to his wishes, but she is unhappy and depressed. She also faces harassment and abuse from Jatin, who is a violent and possessive man. He rapes her on their wedding night and threatens to kill her if she ever leaves him.
Sakhi supports Leela and encourages her to be true to herself. She also exposes Devraj's corruption and crimes through her articles. She reveals that Devraj is involved in a scam that exploits poor farmers and that he is behind the murder of a social activist who opposed him. Sakhi also has a troubled past: she was raped by a Hindu mob during the 2002 Gujarat riots, which left her scarred and traumatized.
The outcome of their escape plan is also tragic and ironic. Leela decides to run away with Sakhi and start a new life with her. They manage to elude Jatin and Devraj, who are chasing them with their goons. They reach a train station, where they hope to board a train to Mumbai. However, they are confronted by Malik, who recognizes Sakhi as the woman who wrote against him. Malik shoots Sakhi in the chest, killing her instantly. Leela is devastated and enraged. She picks up Sakhi's gun and shoots Malik in the head, killing him as well. She then turns the gun on herself and commits suicide.
The Comparison and Contrast of the Two Stories
The two stories are connected and parallel to each other in several ways. They both deal with the themes of unfreedom, identity, violence, love, and faith. They both show how individuals are trapped by their circumstances and how they try to break free from them. They both show how violence begets violence and how hatred breeds hatred. They both show how love can be a source of strength or weakness, depending on how it is expressed or suppressed.
They also differ in terms of setting, tone, and style. The story of Hussain and Fareed is set in New York City, which is a symbol of freedom and diversity, but also of conflict and chaos. The story of Leela and Sakhi is set in Delhi, which is a symbol of tradition and culture, but also of oppression and injustice. The story of Hussain and Fareed is more political and philosophical, while the story of Leela and Sakhi is more personal and emotional. The story of Hussain and Fareed is more realistic and gritty, while the story of Leela and Sakhi is more artistic and poetic. The story of Hussain and Fareed is more linear and chronological, while the story of Leela and Sakhi is more nonlinear and flashbacks.
The Critical Reception and Analysis of the Film
The film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Some praised the film for its bold and daring portrayal of controversial issues and its artistic merit. They appreciated the film's cinematography, editing, music, and performances. They also lauded the film's message of tolerance and diversity. Some examples of positive reviews are:
"Unfreedom is a brave and powerful film that exposes the hypocrisy and violence of religious fundamentalism and homophobia. It also celebrates the courage and resilience of those who fight for their freedom and identity." - The Huffington Post
"Unfreedom is a gripping and provocative film that challenges the viewers to question their own beliefs and prejudices. It also showcases the talent and vision of Raj Amit Kumar, who is a promising filmmaker to watch out for." - The Hollywood Reporter
"Unfreedom is a masterpiece of cinema that explores the complex and nuanced themes of unfreedom, identity, violence, love, and faith. It also features stellar performances by the cast, especially Victor Banerjee, Bhavani Lee, Preeti Gupta, and Bhanu Uday." - The Times of India
Others criticized the film for its excessive and gratuitous violence and nudity, its poor script and direction, and its biased and preachy tone. They argued that the film was sensationalist, exploitative, and offensive. They also dismissed the film's message as simplistic and unrealistic. Some examples of negative reviews are:
"Unfreedom is a terrible and tasteless film that insults the intelligence and sensibility of the viewers. It also wastes the potential of a good cast, who are reduced to caricatures and stereotypes." - The Indian Express
"Unfreedom is a boring and pretentious film that fails to engage or enlighten the viewers. It also suffers from a lack of coherence, logic, and credibility. It is a film that should have remained banned." - The Hindustan Times
"Unfreedom is a disgusting and disgraceful film that promotes violence and obscenity. It also mocks the values and traditions of India. It is a film that should be boycotted by all." - The Hindu
The film has also sparked debates and discussions among scholars, activists, and policymakers. Some have argued that the film is an important and timely contribution to the discourse on human rights, freedom of expression, religious tolerance, gender equality, and sexual diversity. They have also defended the film's artistic freedom and integrity. Others have argued that the film is a harmful and irresponsible representation of India's culture, society, and politics. They have also called for stricter regulation and censorship of films that offend or incite violence.
Unfreedom is a controversial and banned film that tackles issues such as religious extremism, sexual violence, homophobia, censorship, and human rights. It tells two separate stories: one about a Muslim terrorist who kidnaps a liberal Muslim scholar in New York City, the other about a Hindu woman who elopes with a Muslim woman in Delhi. The film explores themes such as unfreedom, identity, violence, love, and faith. It shows how different forms of oppression affect individuals and society. It also shows how people resist or succumb to unfreedom in different ways. It challenges the viewers to question their own beliefs and prejudices. It also raises questions about freedom of expression, tolerance, diversity, and justice.
The film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Some praised the film for its bold and daring portrayal of controversial issues and its artistic merit. Others criticized the film for its excessive and gratuitous violence and nudity, its poor script and direction, and its biased and preachy tone. The film also sparked debates and discussions among scholars, activists, and policymakers. Some defended the film's artistic freedom and integrity, while others called for stricter regulation and censorship of films that offend or incite violence.
In my opinion, Unfreedom is a film that deserves to be seen and discussed. It is not a perfect film, but it is a brave and powerful film. It exposes the hypocrisy and violence of religious fundamentalism and homophobia. It also celebrates the courage and resilience of those who fight for their freedom and identity. It is a film that reflects the reality and complexity of India's culture, society, and politics. It is a film that challenges us to think critically and compassionately about ourselves and others.
What do you think of Unfreedom? Have you seen it or would you like to see it? Do you agree or disagree with its message and representation? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
Q: Where can I watch Unfreedom?
A: Unfreedom is available on various online platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu. You can also buy or rent the DVD from Amazon or other retailers.
Q: Who are the actors and actresses in Unfreedom?
A: The main cast of Unfreedom consists of Victor Banerjee as Fareed Rahmani, Bhavani Lee as Leela Singh, Preeti Gupta as Sakhi Taylor, Bhanu Uday as Hussain Malik, Ankur Vikal as Jatin Singh, Seema Rahmani as Sarah Rahmani, Samrat Chakrabarti as Devraj Singh, Adil Hussain as Najeeb Siddiqui, Kuldeep Sareen as Malik's Henchman, Danny Boushebel as FBI Agent Roy, Alyy Khan as Ali Rahmani, Danae Nason as FBI Agent Angela Morrissey, Dilip Shankar as Maulana Qureshi, Shayan Munshi as Rizwan Ahmed Khan, Andrew Platner as FBI Agent Smith.
Q: Who is the director and writer of Unfreedom?
A: The director and writer of Unfreedom is Raj Amit Kumar. He is an Indian-American filmmaker who has a PhD in Cinema Studies from New York University. He has also directed short films such as Blemished Light (2009) and In Search of America (2010).
Q: What is the meaning of the title Unfreedom?
A: The title Unfreedom refers to the state of being deprived of freedom or liberty. It also refers to the opposite of freedom or independence. The film shows how different characters are unfree in different ways: unfree from their religion, their sexuality, their family, their society, their violence, their love, their faith.
Q: What is the significance of Faiz Ahmad Faiz's poem "Ye Dagh Dagh Ujala"?
A: Faiz Ahmad Faiz was a Pakistani poet who wrote "Ye Dagh Dagh Ujala" (This Stained Dawn) in 1947, after the partition of India and Pakistan. The poem expresses his disappointment and anger at the bloodshed and violence that accompanied the independence of both countries. The poem also reflects his hope for a better future for both nations. The film uses the poem as a motif to show how history repeats itself and how unfreedom persists in different forms.