One of the biggest complaints that Indian movie men have is against censorship. And rightly so. For, art should never be fettered. But sometimes, censorship is touted as one of the reasons for a bad film. This line is debatable.
Let us look at Iran, where censorship is almost brutal. While a master auteur like Jafar Panahi has been banned from making films for 20 years and is now under house arrest of sorts in Teheran, and fantastic artists like Golshifteh Farahani (who will soon be seen playing alongside our brilliant Irrfan Khan in Anup Singh’s Song of Scorpions) had to flee Iran and take refuge in Paris, the city of liberty, fraternity and equality, there are, yet, men like Asghar Farhadi who make fabulous cinema well within the strangulating restrictions imposed by the Iranian clergy.
Farhadi, who gave us a masterpiece like A Separation in 2011 (which premiered at Berlin), is now all set to roll out his next piece of cinema. He is shooting Forushande in Teheran - yes, right under the watchful eyes of the mullahs, much like he did with A Separation.
Farhadi’s seventh feature, Forushande, explores the relationship between a man and a woman that all of a sudden turns violent. The story underlines the possible reasons for a man, otherwise calm and inoffensive, changing into a brute, unreasonable and cruel.
Farhadi said in a note that “as in my previous movies, Forushande addresses how social challenges can propel the downfall of some people”.
Indeed so, and this has been the Iranian helmer’s strongest point. He has the fascinating ability to weave into intimately personal relationships (like that between two people in love), political and social (sometimes moral) factors -- factors that affect human relationships, at times, gravely so and with ugly consequences.
We saw this most vividly in A Separation -- which won the Golden Bear for Best Film at Berlin, Silver Bears for Best Actor and Best Actress and the 2012 Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Picture.
A Separation is a painful story of a couple, where the man expects his modern, working wife to take care of his home and his father, down with Alzheimers. When she wants to move out of a socially restrictive Iran, with their daughter, to another country, the husband objects, because there is no one to take care of his father. Herein lies the moral dilemma and conflict, and narrated against the backdrop of the political and social climate prevailing in Iran, A Separation turns out to be a powerful document of societal order ruining very close ties.
The Past -- which premiered at Cannes in 2013 -- is yet another haunting piece of cinema that unravels the mysteries of human behaviour against ethnic and cultural turmoil. Although this work is set in France, it talks about the relationship between a man, who returns to Paris, to settle a divorce with his wife, who has since her breakup found a guy whose wife is in deep coma. The Past is more about deceits and lies told through marital discord, but the underlying cultural conditioning of the Iranian couple cannot be missed.
Forushande seems like the third part of a trilogy (although Farhadi has not said so). But whatever it be, the film will may well be as riveting as A Separation and The Past.