Mee Raqsam: A Film That Shows Humanity Can Win Over Patriarchy And Religious Intolerance
This story about a girl from a small town is connecting audiences far and wide with its message of fighting back against oppression in society.
At the heart of it, Mee Raqsam is a simple story about a unique father-daughter bond that will warm your heart. But the film also touches on problems that are troubling our country and the world right now. It shows how a male dominant and religiously divided society are not just vague issues but can deeply affect people’s day-to-day lives. The film also shows how much backlash people have to face for even trying to step away from the norms set by society.
Here are some of the reviews for Mee Raqsam.
Maryam (Aditi Subedi) is a young girl who is going through a emotionally rough patch after the loss of her mother. She decides to take Bharatnatyam lessons because it reminds her of her mother. Salim her father supports her decision even when he faces opposition from the elder fundamentalists in society. While the Muslim leader believes that Maryam should not learn a Hindu dance, the conservative Hindus don’t want to accept a Muslim girl showing interest in Hindu culture.
Naseeruddin Shah plays the role of an influential local leader, Hashim Seth, perfectly. He is always ready to help people from ‘his’ community. However, he uses his influence to keep people in check, like stopping a young girl from following her dream of becoming a Bharatnatyam dancer. He explains that Bharatnatyam was the dance of tawaifs (courtesans) and is therefore not appropriate for a respectable girl. He also rightly predicts that the Hindu community either will not accept Maryam’s dance or use it as an example of what is lacking in Islam.
Rakesh Chaturvedi Om who plays the role of a influential Hindu leader has the most interesting change in this film. He first tries his best to discourage Maryam from practising Bharatnatyam. However, when he realises that he is losing support, he tries to make it look like Maryam is accepting the Hindu traditional dance because her own community is illiterate, violent, and lacks any culture. Both Hashim Seth and Jai Prakash are men who believe they the right and the power to control how women should and should not behave in society.
Maryam’s father, Salim (Danish Husain) and her Bharatnatyam teacher Uma show how humanity can defeat these social evils. When Maryam feels disheartened and wants to give in to society’s pressure, her father convinces her that the fault is not in her but in society’s mindset and if they give in now then society will continue to tell them what they can and cannot do.
Uma too recognises Maryam’s talent and doesn’t hold her back. She gives her opportunities to show her talent to people who matter, and convinces her to enter the competition when everything is going against her. Both of them are prime examples of how putting faith in humanity rather than following social norms is the best step forward.
If you liked Mee Raqsam, watch the thought-provoking film Mulk starring Taapsee Pannu and Rishi Kapoor, which brilliantly highlights the religious divide still prevalent in the country.