FIR, the new Vishnu Vishal movie directed by Manu Anand, feels like a thriller written by someone who only went through the headlines of every news article. Manu Anand wants to create this Muslim hero character who had to go through a lot of trauma because he was a suspected terrorist. Not every Muslim is a terrorist is that theme they are trying to recreate. But just like Sooryavanshi, here also we have the director giving a lecture to the Muslims on how to be a patriotic good Indian Muslim.
Irfan Ahmed lives with his mother in Chennai, and he finished his education from IIT in Chemical Engineering. He is yet to find a stable job, and he is trying for it. One day on his way back to Chennai, he lost his phone at the Coimbatore airport. After his departure, an explosion happens at the airport, and the NIA arrests him. Irfan’s struggle to prove his innocence and how the system’s attitude changes him is what we see in FIR.
Manu Anand is trying to deceive the audience in the first half by making us believe that Irfan Ahmed is actually a terrorist. But anyone who has seen commercial films would definitely know that it will not happen. And what happens at the end of the movie is that cliched trope. The problem is with the politics of the movie. Its gaze on Islamophobia is extremely peripheral. In the movie, the hero angrily tells his friend about the struggle of having to answer the question “are you religious?” every single time. And the same movie is trying to say that a true Muslim would make sacrifices for the country, something that people from another religion don’t have to do for validation.
The scripting tactics are outdated, and thus FIR can’t really trick the viewer. It is almost like watching a kid pull off a magic trick, which you already know, in front of you. You will be curious to know whether Manu Anand would actually take the risk of making his hero a terrorist. But nothing of that sort happens here and what happens in the climax is a hero-worshipping trope that just feels meh these days. There is an attempt to make the movie look elaborate. But when you have a pointless sidetrack comedy featuring film critic Prashanth, it just breaks the flow. The movie is filled with back-to-back chases and some ambitious methods of handling terrorism. But the sad part is that none of it has this edge-of-the-seat feel to its credit.
Vishnu Vishal as Irfan Ahmed is convincing as the hero figure. It’s the typical hero character that starts from being the boy next door and eventually becomes an action hero. Manjima Mohan plays the role of an advocate who isn’t that essential to the script. With his English accent and style, Gautham Vasudev Menon is believable as the NIA official. Maala Parvathy plays the role of Irfan’s mother. Raiza Wilson as the “ideal” Muslim Anisha Qureshi was good. Reba Monica John has a brief appearance as the beta Milla Jovovich.
FIR is a very shallow exploration of a theme that incidentally is very relevant today. Even if you keep aside its problematic politics, there isn’t much of a thrill in this movie except for the rapidly edited chase sequences. Every detour or deviation the movie takes feels very familiar. And as I already said, the way they are making dying for your country the only option for Muslims to get validated as good Muslims is just a sugar-coated version of Islamophobia.
The way they are making dying for your country the only option for Muslims to get validated as good Muslims is just a sugar-coated version of Islamophobia.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended