Children of war weaves together four parallel stories – all interconnected in one aspect – the struggle of liberation in Bangladesh and the horror of tyranny unleashed on Bengalis across faiths in East Bengal by the Pakistani establishment in 1971,
As ordered by the Pakistani administration and trying to control the developing interest for liberation and making of a free Bangladesh, the Pakistani Army which was posted in Bangladesh was given supreme forces to run the nation in the manner they best regarded fit.
Aamir, a noted columnist, is assaulted by Malik, a General in the Pakistan Army and his wife ruthlessly raped in front of his eyes. Fida is taken, alongwith several other women, to a Nazi-style concentration camp where they will be impregnated with “Pakistani blood”.
Rafiq and his sister Kausar miraculously escape when the Pakistani Army attacks their village. They live on, with the hope of crossing over to India one day, when they meet a group of migrators. Aamir, meanwhile, gets in touch with a man (Farooque Sheikh) who is heading a small unit of Mukti Bahini.
Children of War stands out from other films made on the theme of Bangladesh Liberation War in terms of the extent to which human suffering has been portrayed on the screen. The violence unleashed on the inmates of the concentration camp, the inhumane torture, ghastly scenes of rape would rattle one’s conscience.
Pavan Malhotra stands out in his depiction of Malik, the cold-blooded Pakistani General who thinks he is serving his religion and nation by playing with the lives of innocents. Tilottama Shome, in her brief appearance, steals your heart away. Her death leaves you numb. Raima, Indraneil easily evoke the right emotions in the hearts of the audience. Riddhi Sen is stellar in his transformation from a young brother to the ruthless protector of his sister.
Director Mritunjay Devvrat deserves accolades for coming up with a film like this in his debut effort. The screenplay stands out as the mainstay of the film. Even the cinematography is spellbinding. I am not sure where the film has been shot, but it no doubt encapsulates the beauty of Bengal, even during troubled times. There are several rape scenes but at no point do they seem to be planted in the plot just to grab eyeballs; in fact, they successfully evoke empathy.
Children of War reminds us of one of the biggest genocides of human history, perpetrated by Pakistan with full support of the Western establishment. It also acts as a wake up call to all Bengalis, on both sides of the border, who have become oblivious of the history of the land. It also dispels the myth that Hindus were the only targets of the “holocaust” of 1971.
More importantly, the film helps understand that war for independence may have ended, but the struggle for justice has not.
Thank you Mrityunjay Devvrat for this great tribute to the Maati.
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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Political thrillers often run the risk of losing the plot midway and blowing up the climax, after building up a fairly good plot. Writing on a topic as grave as the Taliban phenomenon and Global Jihad Inc is not a cakewalk; research goes on collecting facts and one needs a sound imagination to translate the facts into fiction. Abhisar Sharma walks the tightrope and narrates a gripping tale of conflict, terror, violence, ruthless bloodshed, deceit and politics.
The Edge of The Machete is the second offering in the Taliban Conundrum trilogy by Abhisar Sharma and makes a mark from the first page itself. From the inhuman murder of a CIA operative in Pakistan to the torture chambers in the jails of Kazakhstan, the violence may creep a reader who has a frail heart. Involving characters who reside in the headlines of newspapers, the plot slowly builds up a tension, leaving the reader wanting for a breathtaking experience.
The story begins when a CIA operative in Pakistan is betrayed by one of his own, and ends up in the hands of an emerging Taliban warlord, whose dictionary does not feature the word emotions. The only emotion Ameer Sharzai feels is the feeling of sadistic pleasure when he sees his victims being tortured to death. As the CIA is coming to terms with the death of the agent and planning a counter-offensive, Eduardo Gomez makes an entry into the narrative with a plan, which seems too good to bear fruit.
The flow of the story has breaks in between, to give an insight into the past of the main characters. Shahid Khan, Rahul Sharma, Ameer – everyone gets their due coverage. The novel throws light on the rampant racism in England and how Muslims lead a harrowing life, as an aftermath of 9/11 and 7/11 terror attacks. Shaun Marsh is transformed into Shahid Khan at the British version of Guantanamo Bay prison; the details too gory to digest at one go. These digressions in the plot wean away the interest building up for the amazing story that the writer wanted to tell.
The climax keeps the door open for the third instalment of the Taliban series while drawing curtains on this edition of the story. The way all pieces of the jigsaw fall in place as the final pages approach, and the manner in which coincidences and luck favour our protagonists may invite a few raised eyebrows. But that’s the way thrillers are.
While turning the pages sometimes i wondered, is it so easy to infiltrate the world of Taliban and win their confidence? People running a global Jihadi organisation would do better than blindly falling in love with a “new icon” of Islamic Hardliners. But then, these men are creations of the American intelligence and later turned rogue.
Abhisar Sharma’s novel has the style of Sam Bourne and Robert Ludlam. Breathtaking plots, fast-paced page-turners and brilliant visualisations with words – I will surely wait for the third novel of the trilogy.
My Rating – 3/5 stars 🙂
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