Mee Raqsam Film Review: Baba Azmi’s Small Film With A Big Heart Delivers A Vital Message
Mee Raqsam is the story of a young girl fighting for her dreams against the backdrop of religious extremism.
Mee Raqsam is as much an impressive film as it is a important story of unity in our times. It is the story of Maryam from Mijwah, Azamgarh, who dreams of learning Bharatnatyam. However, people are opposed to a Muslim girl trying to learn Indian classical dance. Naseeruddin Shah plays the role of Hashim Seth, a rich and powerful Muslim man who decides what is allowed and what is against social norms. Danish Husain portrays the sensitive and endearing father Salim who fights for his daughter’s dream.
Watch the trailer here.
Maryam (Aditi Subedi) is dealt a huge personal blow when her mom passes away. They were best friends who loved to dance together. After her mother’s death, Maryam finds a way to honour her mother’s legacy when she finds a Bharatnatyam class. When the people from the Muslim community in the town find out about a girl from their community doing a traditionally Hindu dance, they boycott the family. Salim protects his daughter from the backlash. However, the conservative Hindus also have a problem with a Muslim girl trying to adopt their traditional dance.
Aditi Subedi’s story is no less inspiring than the character Maryam. She too is from Mijwah and she delivers a mature performance in the film as a girl who stays graceful in the face of violence and oppression. The story of Maryam could very well be the story of women all over the country. Powerful men think it is okay to use their power to dictate what women can and cannot do in their personal lives.
Naseeruddin Shah delivers a performance that lives up to his reputation. As Hashim Seth, he is seen doing his best to help the Muslim community with money, but we also see the darker side to him where he will use his power to stifle the happiness a poor family that goes against him.
The film doesn’t take sides, as it highlights the conservative Hindu hypocrisy too. Rakesh Chaaturvedi Om playing the role of Jai Prakash shows how conservative Hindus refuse to accept Muslims into what is considered Hindu culture and not Indian culture. The film also depicts how majority Muslim localities are seen as violent, uneducated, and on a general level, as sub-humans.
Danish Husain as Salim and Maryam’s dance teacher Uma are the ones who are the true heroes of the film. They do their best to keep a talented girl’s dream alive without consideration for religion and class. Aditi Subedi’s final Bharatnatyam performance to a Sufi song is one that will make you want to clap while watching the film too.
Baba Azmi‘s directorial debut is an ode to his father Kaifi Azmi. The movie begins with a line from Kaifi Azmi’s poem Pyaar Ka Jashn. A special mention to the great work done by the choreographers Deepali Salil and Subash Shukla who create some of the best Indian classical dance performances on the big screen from recent times.
Add this film to your weekend watchlist because it will make you uncomfortable, but is truly heart-warming at the same time.
Watch the recently released film Yaara starring Vidyut Jammwal and Amit Sadh also streaming on ZEE5.