The film opens with some shattering shots of the major terrorist attacks across the globe during the past two decades. The blaring audio clips of news items on terrorist activities in different languages playing together in the background create a purposeful cacophony that intentionally disturbs the focus of the viewer on the visuals of the attacks only to emphasize how terrorism has ripped through the fabric of peace in the human world and upset the applecart of human relationships.
There is a reference to the 9/11 incident, during which Americans watched in horror as terrorist attacks left nearly 3,000 people dead in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania in 2001. There is also reference to the 26/11 incident of 2008, in which ten Lashar-e-Taiba terrorists from Pakistan, carried out twelve coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai and killing over 175 people and wounding more than 300 persons.
And then the narrative mounted like a revisionist docudrama that tracks the tragic incidents of terrorist violence across the world, evolves suddenly and almost magically into a gripping tale, in which a stout and tall middle-aged man, dressed in traditional Muslim attire, walks through several desolate landscapes in a presumably hilly region brandishing a pistol in his right hand. His portly frame, his drooping shoulders, his fiery eyes, with images of terrorist attacks still lingering in our minds, helps us to instantly presume that the man is a ruthless militant on an abominable mission. But the mission is unknown to us until he arrives at a hamlet house, stops at the main gate, and knocks on it.
All this and much more, which stuns all at the end, happen in just about five minutes.
“The Terrorist” - an English short film made by We Feel Creations, which is the short and documentary film-making wing of a twelve-year-old government-registered pan-India social welfare organization, We Feel Social Welfare Society - is a deeply layered duel between truth and lie. By placing specific images of some immensely notorious terrorist attacks on the one end and the vague and non-specific purpose of an apparently ruthless terrorist on the prowl at the other, the writers and directors of the film, Parag and Dipika Biswas set the right tone for a riveting ending.
The viewers are left gaping at the finish with awe and appreciation as the baffling climax inspires in them a deep introspection.
It seems that Parag and Dipika, who had made over 30 films, which had won over 200 awards worldwide, had till the making of “The Terrorist,” saved their best for the script. It’s a case of adept story-telling and playing to the gallery at once that has to date fetched the makers a whopping 40 international awards.
The film, whose main aim is to spread communal harmony and take the message of unity in diversity to the masses, has excelled in all departments of cinematic brilliance.
Besides emerging as the winner at several festivals, the film has bagged best film, best jury, best director, best screenplay, best social message, best editor, best story, best cinematography, and best actor awards. It has earned these accolades at international festivals in London, Monaco, Islamabad, Tehran, Thane, Pune, Mumbai, Nashik, New Delhi, Chennai, Madurai, Bengaluru, Guwahati, and Kolkata.
The noted cinematographer Manob Ghosh of Kolkata is the cameraman of the film, while Afroj Khan, Sushma Begam, Simran Quraishi, and Mahek Ali played the main roles in the movie.
Directors Parag and Dipika Biswas said that the main purpose of making the film was not to win critical acclaim but to foster the spirit of friendship and fraternity among the people of different religions by removing the doubts, suspicions, and misconceptions among one ethnic, linguistic or religious group about the other through their film. “We do a lot of welfare activities throughout the year. We also make films on various social issues and for entertainment purposes as well. Our films have won hundreds of awards in the past as well. Our next film, “The Runaway Bride,” has already won eighteen international awards in London, Mumbai, Chennai, Madurai, and Kolkata. Our Bengali music video, “Ami Chai,” which was released during Dussehra this year, is now a big hit.
But The Terrorists will always be very special and different for us. The script of the film was written in 2012. We couldn’t make the film then as we were looking for the perfect actors to play the roles since we firmly believe that if you look at a character, half the battle is won. The character of the protagonist was so true-to-life that the few people in the forests and tea plantations of north Bengal, where the film was primarily shot, ran away in fear as they were frightened by the look and walk of the protagonist.
The film was actually intended to impress upon the people that perceptions at times can be perilously deceptive. We are happy that the viewers got the message loud and clear and the film also won so many awards,” they said.
The short film is available on MXPlayer