Unfreedom Movie Review: It Is Unbearably Harsh Brutal & Violent!


Starring Victor Bannerjee, Bhanu Uday, Preeti Gupta, Bhavani Lee, Adil Hussain

Directed by Raj Amit Kumar(out now on Netflix)

Rating: ***(3 Stars)

It is  not difficult to understand why this film was  refused a censor certification in India repeatedly. In Raj Amit Kumar’s range  of vision life is  perpetually short brutal and unbearable. The cultural-religious intolerance  that we face  nowadays in every walk of life and  every phase trails its way out into the “progressive” West.

Ironically the film plays  a ‘Trump’ card by showing  exactly what the American President claims: that the Islamic radicalization  of America is now a reality. In the  film a  liberal Islamic scholar(played with  intuitive  brilliance  by Victor Bannerjee) and his hapless assistant are kidnapped in New York by an  uncompromising terrorist, played with unnerving  ruthlessness by Bhanu Uday who proceeds  to  kill the  Professor bit by bit.

The  terrorist’s torture  of  the  professor is among the  most harrowing illustrations of visual violence we will see in modern cinema. While exposing  the brutality of a wounded civilization  the director Raj Amit Kumar  doesn’t flinch from exposing the wounds  and blood that  tear across the agonized destiny of modern mankind.

 The graphic  gruesome   violence  of  the Victor Bannerjee episode, nailed  to  a sense of urgent exposition by the brilliant camerawork(Hari Nair) and a sound design that doesn’t spare  us any of the howls and moans of  unbearable pain, will get to you, as it is meant to.

 The narrative corners  us into a sense  of shuddering participation in the  rites of violence. This  is  even truer in the Delhi  story where a young lesbian daughter(Preeti  Gupta) and her  partner(Bhavani Lee) is subjected to the most unthinkable torture and  shame by her bigoted father(Adil Hussain, stunning in his dark evil avatar).

Adil Hussain is  representative  of  that faceless ‘majority’ which thinks of itself as upholders of  Indian culture. When the  signs of cultural rebellion  are visible in his own  home  Hussain’s character , significantly a Delhi cop,  takes  the bull by the horns.

Honour as defined by Adil Hussain’s law enforcer’s character in Delhi,   is no different from the way it is defined in New York by the Islamic terrorist.Violence is the end-result  of all bigotry. The  blood curdling  sounds of pain  of the aged professor as hammers and saws are used on him to break his  mind and body,  merge into  cries  of pain of the cop’s daughter in Delhi who is gangraped  in lock-up with  her father’s active consent to “normalize” her sexual  preference.

 Unfreedom is  not an easy film to sit through. It offers no respite from the relentless violence,sexual physical and emotional , as one bullying section of society takes  it upon  itself  to  teach the other “tolerant” section  a lesson  or two in radicalization. The film presumes violence to be the determining  tool  of socio-cultural assertion.

And it is not too far  off the mark.

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