Peace now

FIGHT WITHOUT A PAUSE Kanika Verma hopes to score a few points with

FIGHT WITHOUT A PAUSE Kanika Verma hopes to score a few points with "Dansh" PHOTO: SANDEEP SAXENA  

Terrorism has been the subject of many Hindi films. While the Kashmir and Punjab crises have been covered from different perspectives, the Northeast has generally remained off focus for Bollywood. There have been stray cases like Mani Ratnam's Dil Se and Mani Shankar's Tango Charlie, but experts on the region have dubbed both as `fantastic' attempts removed from the reality. Now comes Dansh, debutante Kanika Verma's effort to understand the psychology of terrorism through Mizoram, the State that successfully came out of the scourge in 1986 after 30 years of insurgency.

"Today everybody is talking of terrorism but nobody talks about solutions. I found a fit case in Mizoram, a State where once the Army had burnt down all the villages. The film tries to figure out what it takes to accept neighbours who once torched your house."

Kanika, a postgraduate in Political Science from Delhi University's Lady Shriram College who was pursuing an M. Phil before the Bollywood bug bit her, maintains she has done 18 months of extensive research visiting the affected villages, meeting Mrs. Laldenga and the surviving members of the Mizo National Front. "The Censor Board was also conscious this time. There was a Mizo officer on the board that passed the film."

Kanika, who has earlier assisted Hansal Mehta in Dil Par Mat Le Yaar and Chal, says the film, set in 1986, starts on the day the Mizo accord is signed. "Kay Kay plays Mathew, the spokesperson of MNF, and Sonali Kukarni essays Maria, his wife. Maria had suffered atrocities at the hands of the Army in the past."

"The problem starts when Mathew invites a doctor home at night. The doctor happens to be the son of a police officer who was assassinated during the insurgency. Maria thinks the doctor was the person who raped her in the Army camp. Mathew insists she was blindfolded during the torture, but Maria wants to go by her gut feeling and wants to kill the doctor."

"It is this forgive or revenge situation that forms the crux, which when magnified, presents the larger issues involving terrorism."


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