Fitoor – Recapturing the Utopia in a lost land

“Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast,
Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast “

” If there is a paradise on earth,
It is this, it is this, it is this “

– Amir Khusro

Paradises are only veritably given the title when they allow all possibilities of a being’s state of existence , and not just permit , but assimilate all of these states . Note , a paradise isn’t one because it endows every being , rather it is one as it allows each being to take a form that it desires .

” Embrace the ghouls , and they will bestow you with the infiniteness of their existence “

A paradise will have amongst it’s ascendants the witch and the ghoul , ones whose roots of wonder led them to the deepest of chasms , yet the opening of which bestowed them with powers , ones whose magnitude they were never completely able to absorb in their essences , and which altered their perspectives from the typical .

Yet the paradise ( firdaus ) and it’s radiance ( noor ) only find oneness when the absoluteness of these two ascendants weave them together .

Indian cinema has had some extremely delightful crests ; pristine , mystical , majestic , rooted , classical , but not very often has it dealt with allegory .

Fitoor stands amongst the few Indian allegorical creations , and has gone somewhat unsurprisingly unnoticed ; for in this very nation very few are truly in the grasp of allegorical symbolism , even amongst the self-proclaimed connoisseurs .

Yet for the ones rooted in purism of cinematic , and more importantly art analytics , Fitoor by virtue of seemingly atypical yet intuitively connective actions of it’s characters , the replication of the external setting and the characters’ internal states to the point of seamless interweaving , staying true to the actual nuances of the natives of Kashmir , and the allegorical representation , creates a cinematic universe ; one which functions on it’s own laws and pulls the experiencer in .

Firdaus , paradise , the cradle of alchemy , the bedrock , receptacle and the creator of the divine is rightly the feminine energy , and Noor , the aura , the fragrance , yet the draw to this paradise , drawing it’s very essence from Firdaus is aptly the masculine energy , and together they compose the Kashmir that once existed , and still finds home in nooks and crannies , the Kashmir that Khusro breathed in ; and at an allegorical level the entire world there once was .

The entire film unfolds as the symbolic representation of how Kashmir will find the return to it’s utmost and pious ; through the highs and lows of the recognition and the charm of it’s very spirit , and of it’s own felt alienation to the enforced fitting in of it’s radiance , it’s reducing the very linkages to the ones trying to give it their own colour to ashes , and a return to it’s barest .

Symbolising Kashmir at it’s utmost ( Firdaus – the female protagonist ) and it’s absolute pious ( Noor – the male protagonist ) , they go on their individual journeys , with their bond composed of just enough sacredness and pristineness to pull them into unison at the end of their desires , or rather on realising that they were the abode of the sublime in the first place .

The first instance of their paths aligning was when Noor was at his very nascence and Firdaus in relative nascence ; for Firdaus was first adopted by splendour ( represented by Begum ) .

It was indeed apt , for Begum ( who also represents the witch ) is one who instantaneously penetrates through to the very essence ( rooh ) of a being , and who instinctively seeks Firdaus ( jannat ) in her otherwise wholesome existence ( being the heiress of a palatial rubble ) , in turn giving the rootedness of Firdaus the gift of her riches and an external layering for her interaction with the outside world .

The witch , ever trapped in the dichotomy of her own sense of joyful abandon and the facade of imposition , will always tweak the original paths of paradise and rooh towards unison .

Placing Firdaus as the heiress not just of her possessions , but also of her very being , she in turn spurns Noor , inviting him to be worthy enough for Firdaus .

The entire cinematic universe being composed of the pristine Kashmir’s alchemy ensures that words and actions indeed become spells , and Begum’s words become spells for Noor .

Little does he know that the Begum’s sorcery originate from the aftermath of being left in the wilderness by a lover from a different strata , and one look at Noor invokes memories of him .

Caught in the fear of replication of the same and a desire to avenge in the hope of tranquility , she aims to generate the very same intensity of emotion in Noor for Firdaus only to take her away from him .

The symbolism takes into account long standing burning issues that have shaped the fabric of Kashmir into grotesque forms , hence offering the entire kaleidoscope of it for the experiencer to submerge in .

Firdaus happens to meet Bilal ( in Arabian mythology Bilal is stated as the companion of Prophet Muhammad ) who happens to be the son of a prominent minister in Pakistan , and resides in Islamabad .

Firdaus is engaged to Bilal , one which has roots in organic mutual fascination , yet which leaves Firdaus with the sensation of a void once her path crosses again with Noor .

Bilal symbolises Pakistan , and their betrothedness is the symbolic identification that Kashmir and Pakistan share ( Bilal shares the same social and economic strata as Firdaus ) , and the spirit of a disconnected alienation that Kashmir feels with her nation .

Here Bilal also represents Pakistan at it’s utmost absolute and evolved , possessing an intensity of being refined enough to both soothe and propel , one which it has assimilated in it’s being , yet one that can be forceful if another treads on a territory it considers it’s own .

Firdaus considers the union with Bilal as both stemming from the right cause and beneficial , but longs to be her own being .

It then sheds light on the supposed thought processes and emotions for Kashmir where it truly wants to be on it’s own , and it’s own .

Firdaus would in major probability be swept away by Bilal , but for the puppetic interception of Moazam ( meaning respectable , rather ironically for he is the ghoul ) who is behind the worldly ascendance of Noor , and is much in tune with the typical definition of ascendance , for having treaded on the path of the disregard in it’s raging utmost ( the movie begins with his unveiling as a terrorist ) , his retraction is one of absolute compliance ( albeit possessing shades of disregard in their most celebrated forms , by propelling Noor into art , and by possessing each of the works created by his unison with the sublime ) .

There is a divine code of conduct in the entire cinematic universe , that of the dissolution of free will .

It is as if each of the beings ( characters ) in this universe is propelled to act by the source present in it’s very essences .

The source itself has created each of the beings , it is the entity that is in unison with each of their beings and propels them forwards on their path , making their destination a foregone conclusion .

Noor , Firdaus , Bilal , even the creators Begum and Moazam are unwitting elements in the flow of the cinematic cosmos , where every independent action of theirs’ is merely a reaction to the internal and external states created by the cosmos .

The only being who stays immune to the forces , acting as if on absolute free will , yet remains in the habitat with a presence and importance enough to deem him central is Arif ( the wise one ) .

Arif acts as the voice of reason and the sagely presence , one who can intuitively feel the presence in beings , spaces and times and can gauge whether to surrender oneself to them .

He acts as both Noor’s voice of reason and his conduit with the outside world , guiding him with utmost concern , and reflecting a tenderness towards humanity as a rule , one who can sense the presence of every realm yet one who humbly remains a servant to mankind .

As Firdaus and Noor finally become one , the ghoul and the witch are stopped in their tracks , that of gathering resources and accomplishments , and of maintaining the duality of fitting in yet reveling in one’s independent absoluteness .

Art in it’s absolute pristine , vivid , magical and purest – propelling us to an otherworld , making us experience it in it’s utmost essences , drifting us away with it , provide us a glimpse of an altered and cherished space in it’s most endowed time , and moving us as beings .

A masterpiece – but created at a time when the beings are actually regressing to mere trivialities – hopefully in a more original and profound space and time it takes it’s rightful place in the cinematic pantheon !

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