When I first checked out "Afwaah" (2023) there was a very low rating and some very negative comments. I liked the cast and decided to watch it anyway. The negativity seemed unjustified and I am still trying to fathom it, but in the meantime I have discovered many positive comments.
The story line revolves around a political election. Vicky Singh is running for office and is stirring up Hindu-Muslim riots. A man is killed. Vicky's fiancee, Nivi is so upset she runs out and in the midst of riots is mixed up with a scandal that she is eloping with a Hindu. By circumstance Rahab Ahmed is on his way to a book event honoring his wife. He is mistaken as the man who lured the fiance to elope. They both flee for their lives.
One theme is about fake news. The scandal really amounted to Nivi breaking off wedding plans while Vicky knew it would hurt his electoral chances. The riots were concocted by Vicky as he branded himself as a strong leader. A man was killed not quite by accident and in revenge the wrong man was killed. There is lots of cold blooded violence, perhaps unnecessary, but emphasizes the attempt to control events with political implications using rumors.
The cast and crew give this film a lot of credibility.
Sudhir Mishra was writer and director. He comes by an honest interest in political manipulations with a grandfather who was a cabinet minister. He earned a Master of Philosophy. His 21 film credits include writing, directing and producing with such films as "Chameli" (2003), "Khoya Khoya Chand" (2007), "Inkaar" (2013) and "Serious Men" (2020). Two observations from a YouTube interview. Women are taking over technical film crews and that is a good thing. He also pointed that a clever line is only clever in a context.
Anubhav Sinha was a producer and has a long history with writing, directing and producing. His films include "Ra.One" (2001), "Article 15" (2019), "Thappad" (2020) and "Bheed" (2023). For another political perspective with social impact check: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/09/article-15.html
Bhushan Kumar was another producer. At age 19 his father died and he took ovr the music business turning it
into a major force. Then he got involved with films leading up to 180
film credits including "Hindi Medium" (2017), "Kabir Singh" (2019),
"Chandigarh Kare Ashiqui" (2021), "Drishyam 2" (2022) and Bheed" (2023). Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/09/arjun-reddy-and-kabir-singh.html
Karel Antonin, the music composer comes from Prague, Czech Republic. He worked with short films, commercials and videos in Europe. He has 67 film credits including a few in India such as "Serious Men" (2020).
Mauricio Vidal handled the cinematography. He has 50 film credits including "Undertow" (2015) and 10 episodes of "Narcos" (2015)
Atanu Mukherjee, the editor has 23 film credits including "Serious Men" and "Bheed" (2023). See http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/06/bheed-covid-drama-from-india.html
Bhumi Pednekar plays Nivi. She started with casting.
Big break came when asked to help cast "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" (2015) where
she auditioned for and had to gain a lot of weight for an unusual
romance where she played an overweight bride that had been
arranged to solve a revenue problem. She went onto a number of
memorable films such as "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" (2017), "Shubh Mangal Savdhan" (2017) and "Bala"
(2019). With Rajkummar Rao she played a lesbian to his gay role in
"Badhaai Do" (2022). An earlier film this year was "Bheed" (2023)Having gained a lot of weight to get a role she
lost a lot of
weight to get other roles, but fortunately she is a very credible
actress. She chose this film to expand her acting to include thrillers. Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2022/03/badhaai-do-lgbt-film-from-conservative.html
Nawazuddin Siddiqui played Rahab Ahmed. The son of a farmer Nawazuddin became a chemist. A long time playing minor roles before being recognized as an exceptional actor. He played an aggressive obnoxious policeman in "Kahanni" (2012) blowing smoke in the face of a pregnant woman. He played an obsequious role in "The Lunchbox" (2013). Perhaps better known for gangster films like "Gangs of Wasseypur" (2012) and the tv series "Sacred Games" (2018-19). Other interesting roles include "Manjhi: The Mountain Man"Lion" (2016), "Manto" (2018), "Photograph" (2019), "Serious Men" (2020). In "Raat Akeli Hai" (2020) he is a tough detective in a delicate political situation (many of the other characters campaign for his firing) and with his mother who is concerned he is too fussy to get married. check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2020/08/you-like-murder-mysteries-check-out.html
Sumeet Vyas played the corrupt politician Vicky Singh. He has 57 film credits including "Arakshan" (2011), "English Vinglish" (2013), "Parched" (2015), "Ribbon" (2017) and "Made in China" (2019). Read about another film with political implications http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2013/10/aarakshan-study-on-education-inequality.html
Sharib Hashmi played Chandon, a character caught up in violence. He is best known for the series "The Family Man" (2019) which garnered him international award for his supporting role. His film credits include "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008), "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (2012), "Phullu" (2017), "Ujda Chaman" (2019) and "The Great Indian Murder" (2022). He wrote the dialogue for "Notebook" (2015). Read about international spy missions: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/03/the-family-man.html
Sumeet Kaul played a corrupt violent cop. He once toured with a theatrical group performing in Hindi and Urdu plays. His film credits include "Once Upon a Time in Mumbaii" (2010), "Haider" (2014) and "Hamid" (2019). He has also been busy dubbing from foreign movies. See http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/02/haider-bollywoods-version-of-shakespeare.html
Eisha Chopra played Nandita, the wife of Rahab Ahmed. Her 24 film credits include "No One Killed Jessica" (2011), "Aligarh" (2015) and "Neerja" (2016).
I hope no one is deterred from this movie by a few negative reviews which struck me as too extreme to be credible, but I have learned some films attract negative views. Many of the ratings were 1 out of 10 which by itself indicates a campaign. There is a lot of violence, but normal for such films.
As usual I have bolded the first mention of films I have seen. For this post I wanted to emphasize the quality of the cast and crew.