Dia Mirza’s Kaafir is a Powerful Socio-Political Drama
Dia Mirza’s web series Kaafir on Zee5 is a powerful socio-political drama
A sneak peek at Kaafir, the new web series to be released by Zee5 on June 15, shows us a powerful socio-political drama set in present-day bleeding Kashmir, steeped in poignancy and humanism that is rare in films about militancy in the Valley.
Dia Mirza who produces this monumental 8-part series says the role left her scarred and wounded, perhaps permanently. I completely understand what she means. No actress who plays this Kainaaz Akhtar who floats into India unconscious from Pakistan and is immediately arrested on suspicion of militancy, can be left untouched by her harrowing predicament. The series explores the political cultural and emotional dynamics of present-day Kashmir which embolden those in power to attack the vulnerable.
Tragically it takes a man, in this case, a lawyer played with extreme intensity by Mohit Raina, to get justice for this woman, a single mother incarcerated on charges of militancy. This is the way all stories of women heroes work. In order to emerge victorious, they need a male to support their struggle. This is not a flaw in what seems like a meticulously researched screenplay (by Bhavani Iyer). It is a testimony to the patriarchal nature of our social system where women in literature and cinema are constantly seen as victims redeemed by a male presence. From Nutan in Bimal Roy’s Sujata to Dia Mirza in Kaafir, this notion of a male saviour serves the purpose of shifting the gender dynamics into a stimulating sphere.
Given the superb craft and raw emotions that seem to have gone into weaving Kainaat’s story, Kaafir seems to be among the best web series in recent times, if not the best. It is real. And it is revealing of the political reality of Kashmir that most of us would like to turn a blind eye to. Dia Mirza sinks into the role of the Pakistani woman drifting into the melting pot of Kashmir. This is her Mother India.