“Kisi begunaah ko mar ke jannat nahin milni,” screams Pavan Malhotra towards the end of this 1 hour 20 minute peculiar parable on the spirit and subversions of jihad.
Does a man who kills in the name of religion get to go Heaven and, extending the parable of unattainable paradise, are there seventy two lovely women , the seductive hoors, waiting to attend to the martyred jihadi?
The answer to the above is so glaring in its unambiguousness that you wonder how young recruits to the cause of terrorism fall for it.
Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan’s chamber-piece moves out of the traditional boundaries of the genre into the wide open where two jihadis Bilaal(Amir Bashir) and Hakim(Pavan Malahotra) have lately played the self-destructive roles of suicide bombers and are now waiting for paradise to take them in.
As their wait increases and the frustration and rage grows in tandem, Bahattar Hoorain grows from a cautionary tale to a stark wry brutal exploration of terrorism and the common man. Unlike Kashmir Files or Kerala Story, there is no underlining flavor of Islamophobia in the contextual directions and cultural discourse chosen in the storytelling.
The stark storyline moves in episodes where the two friends, Pakistani jihadis in India to blow of the India Gate, converse over their promised paradise.Both Pavan Malhotra and Amir Bashir are fine actors capable of lifting the most pedantic sequence above its allotted ambit. Here, the narrative has no buttress to lift the basic drama into something nasty and regressive.The two actors are very much on their own. They make the best of their stagey source-material.
What we see here is what we get. What I liked about Bahattar Hoorain is that the toxicity comes from within the two protagonists and their tenets and beliefs, and has nothing to do with any other community.
It is a curiously selfcontained world where thought processes may seem alien to the outsider, but are perfectly in-harmony with the mind and spirit of the insider. The most fascinating feature of the intriguing oddball of a film is the cinematography by Chirantan Das. In black-and-white , colour pops up in spurts , like an explosion or a fire on the street.Or that odd traffic light which you may not even notice. In one sequence showing a deserted terror-hit street we see three trashbins in colour; elsewhere a little girl’s red dress lights up an other-wise colourless frame.
Bahattar Hoorain is not the third part of the trilogy after Kashmir Files and Kerala story. If the truth be told, Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan’s capricious take on a pair of bombers’ post-death disillusionment is a free-willed beast of its own. Not everyone’s cup of tea. But it tells us why we must wake up and smell the real kafir.