Nishad and Gaura defy the belief that romanticism and revolution can never go hand in hand. They proved that revolutionaries can be the most beautiful lovers because of their commitment to their cause and lovers even if their love ends up unrequited at the end. Even though they didn’t end up together, their passion for each other makes a place in my heart, and when Nishad dies at the end, I mourned with Gaura…
Nabiya Khan, Youth Ki Awaaz
Article 15 may not be a perfect movie, but it has everything that makes it a mirror of our society. We cannot deny the fact that it is a much-needed movie of our time. I might have felt a little underwhelmed in the end but it left me with goosebumps with its plaintive and simplistic storytelling.
While the movie emerged as a very hard-hitting and bone-chilling cinematic experience for me, one character from this movie that touched my heart is the character that Zeeshan Ayyub has played.
He plays the role of a Dalit leader and an activist–Nishad, who has a fiery mind of a revolutionary along with the tender heart of a lover.
Despite having only a few scenes in the movie, Nishad, when he says, “Hum kabhi Harijan ho jate hain, kabhi Bahujan ho jate hain. Bas jan nahi ban paate hain taaki jan gan man me hamari bhi ginti hai” (There are times when they treat us as ‘Harijans’ and at times just as a part of the crowd, only never as individuals with rights), emerges as the conscience keeper of the story and very easily overshadows the role of Ayan, the protagonist.
Nishad’s monologues like “Main aur tum inhe dikhayi nahi dete, inka kachra saaf karo, kheto me kam karo, bachhe sambhalo, gandagi saaf karo. Insaaf ki bhikh mat mango bas, jo bhi kaam karte ho band kar do” (We are practically invisible to these people; work for them, do all their ‘menial’ jobs, just don’t beg your basic rights), will stay with us for a long time and will remind you of the last letter written by Rohith Vemula before his institutionalized murder.
The lover’s side of Nishad left me in reverence for him. I could relate with the pain of his unrequited love. Even though Nishad felt that he couldn’t do enough for Gaura (Sayani Gupta) as her lover, the couple loved each other genuinely. They both are the epitome of love for me. When Nishad says “Life me itna jhanjhat hai ki kabhi tumhe dekhke muskura dete the to lagta tha ki ghalat kar rahe hain. Naali me esa fanse the kabhi tumhare sath nadi me pair daal kar nahi bethe, kabhi tumhare sath chand nahi dekha,”(I’m so tied down with all the mess in my life, that even falling in love feels like committing a sin), he fails to understand the relevance of love with revolution.
Nishad didn’t understand that genuine love is revolutionary itself. He did not just fight and give up his life for what is right but loved someone truly. Even though he couldn’t watch the moon with Gaura and couldn’t give her flowers, he inspired her to fight for equality and justice. Gaura and Nishad were two people who dreamt for both love and revolution, that reminds me of famous couplets by Faiz Ahmad Faiz –
“Woh log bahut khush kismat thay
jo ishq ko kaam samajhte thay
ya kaam se aashiqui karte thay
ham jeete’ji masroof rahe
kuchh ishq kiya, kuchh kaam kiya”
(Privileged were those, indeed
who thought of love as their business
or were in love with what they did.
I remained busy my whole life–
with some love, with some work.)
Nishad and Gaura defy the belief that romanticism and revolution can never go hand in hand. They proved that revolutionaries can be the most beautiful lovers because of their commitment to their cause and lovers even if their love ends up unrequited at the end. Even though they didn’t end up together, their passion for each other makes a place in my heart, and when Nishad dies at the end, I mourned with Gaura.
“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love” – Che Guevara.
I, being a poet and an admirer of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, have been writing poems on the relevance of love with revolution and believe that love is not just limited to our personal relations but has a revolutionary implication for the wide-reaching transformations that people associate with revolutions. As some couplets from my own poetry says, “Wo hayat nahi aazab hai jisme inquilab ki chaahat na ho, aur wo inquilab laa-haasil hai jisme visal-e-yar ki rahat na ho,” I believe that stories of people, love, experiences, and their emotions are as important as structural conditions for a revolution.
Zeeshan Ayyub told the millenniumpost.in that through Nishad, “We wanted to show the vulnerable side of a revolutionary. Next time, when you read the newspaper, and find a mention of a person like him, you will not turn the page. You will, at least, read the story and understand that this person is involved in a fight that I should know about. Therefore, Nishad comes across so strong in just two scenes.” Yes, he does. Nishad indeed is staying in our hearts for the longest time. He is the hero we need; he is the hero we deserve.
I feel that Nishad’s character deserves a movie of its own and I hope that “tum akhiri thodi na ho, tum jaise aur aayenge” (You’re not the last one. More like you shall be born). To you Nishad, to Guara, and as my friend Muntaha says, to love and revolution interchangeably intertwined and inseparable.
“तू जो मिल जाए तो तक़दीर निगों हो जाए
यूँ न था, मैंने फ़क़त चाहा था यूँ हो जाए
मुझ से पहली सी मोहब्बत, मेरे महबूब, न माँग
मुझ से पहली सी मोहब्बत, मेरे महबूब, न माँग” – Faiz Ahmad Faiz
(If I gain you, destiny would bow down before me
It wasn’t so, I had merely wanted it to be so
Beloved, don’t ask me to love you as I loved you before
Beloved, don’t ask me to love you as I loved you before)
Courtesy_ Nabiya Khan, Youth Ki Awaaz