‘THE MAURITANIAN’ IS FAR REMOVED FROM THE RUN-OF-THE-MILL FILMS ABOUT TERRORISM - The Daily Guardian
Connect with us

Lifestyle & Entertainment

‘THE MAURITANIAN’ IS FAR REMOVED FROM THE RUN-OF-THE-MILL FILMS ABOUT TERRORISM

Murtaza Ali Khan

Published

on

When the noted French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim received the script for “The Mauritanian” he was expecting another run-of-the-mill Hollywood script propagating a familiar sense of Islamophobia. For the last decade ever since his breakthrough performance in the celebrated French filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s prison drama “A Prophet”, Hollywood had been offering the same kind of roles over and over again. One opening the script when he came across the word “Guantanamo” his apprehensions were more or less confirmed. But to his great surprise, he discovered something very different. The character offered to him, Mohamedou Ould Slahi is a real person who isn’t a terrorist but was simply accused of being one. 

Mohamedou, a Mauritanian man on whose memoir the film is based, was deemed guilty by the US authorities through some vague association. As a result, he was imprisoned for over 14 years without any trial in Guantanamo Bay where he was constantly subjected to torture and abuse by US soldiers. He was finally released in October 2016. In Rahim’s words, “It’s the first time I see a Hollywood movie with a sympathetic Muslim at the centre.” And Rahim, to his credit, plays Mohamedou as a gentle soul who somehow keeps his sanity intact despite years of horrific treatment. The Mauritanian, directed by Kevin Macdonald, stars the legendary Jodie Foster in the role of the no-nonsense defence lawyer who fights for his release with Benedict Cumberbatch essaying the part of the military prosecutor Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch. 

There is no denying that a lot changed after 9/11 as the world became far more paranoid than it had ever been. Soon after the tragic events of September 11, the western world started witnessing a dramatic rise in Islamophobia. Now, according to Wikipedia, “Islamophobia is the fear of, hatred of, or prejudice against the religion of Islam or Muslims in general, especially when seen as a geopolitical force or the source of terrorism.” The increase in Islamophobia could be attributed to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda. Hollywood, of course, played its part through its stereotypical portrayal of Muslims and Islam in countless films. And it was until Mira Nair’s 2012 film “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” that the issue got properly addressed by Hollywood.  

On the other hand, Bollywood filmmaker Kabir Khan highlighted the issue in his 2009 film “New York” through the character of Sameer Sheikh, essayed by John Abraham, who Sam gets arrested and detained for nine months as a suspected terrorist. Though he is eventually released due to lack of evidence, the impact of being detained and tortured permanently changes him in ways that are difficult to comprehend for those surrounding him. A couple of years before the Kabir Khan film, the noted Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor made “Khuda Kay Liye” which presents a graphic account of a man getting detained and tortured for a year at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp due to his Islamic background after the US authorities receive a false complaint from his neighbour.

But, in many ways, The Mauritanian stands out in its depiction of the atrocities that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have undergone over the years. For, Mohamedou’s 2015 memoir titled “Guantanamo Diary” is a testament to what he had to experience for 14 years of his life. He wrote the book in 2005 in Guantanamo Bay but each page had to be submitted to military censors. A total of 2,500 redactions were made before releasing the manuscript to his attorneys seven years later. So, the 2015 edition which went on to become an international bestseller was heavily redacted. He was even prohibited from receiving a copy of his published book while imprisoned. It was only in 2017 that it was republished with redactions fully removed. While the Biden administration has declared its intention to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp there is no certainty that it is going to happen any time soon. But, Mohamedou’s story of redemption certainly gives one hope.

The Mauritanian is far removed from the run-of-the-mill Hollywood films we have become accustomed to watching with the theme of global terrorism at its core. Kevin Macdonald and his team of writers offer something refreshingly different. Here is a deeply humanistic film that isn’t afraid to question the dubious role played by the US authorities in destroying the lives of innocent people like Mohamedou. It exposes how both the Bush as well as the Obama administrations kept prolonging Mohamedou’s ordeal at Guantanamo Bay. Perhaps, it’s for this reason the film didn’t find much traction with the members of The Academy despite receiving multiple Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. The performance by Tahar Rahim (who interestingly stars as the con artist and serial killer Charles Sobhraj in the Netflix series “The Serpent”) certainly deserved an Oscar nomination for portraying the part of Mohamedou Ould Slahi with such great conviction. Also, the deeply nuanced performances by Jodie Foster and Benedict Cumberbatch deserved more attention.

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

Lifestyle & Entertainment

‘THE CROWN’ TAKES THE THRONE AT EMMYS 2021

Published

on

LOS ANGELES: Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ won big at the Emmys 2021. This show which follows Queen Elizabeth’s life throughout the decades of her reign was declared winner of the Outstanding Drama Series award at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. It also bagged awards for best actors (drama) and best actors in supporting roles. The show also took home the best writing and directing award.

On such a remarkable win, the team of Netflix took to the streaming giant’s official Twitter handle to congratulate the members of the show. “Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Crown for their 11 Emmy wins — including Best Drama Series, Best Actress for Olivia Colman, and Best Actor for Josh O’Connor https,” the tweet read. Apart from ‘The Crown’, ‘Ted Lasso’ also registered a golden win at Emmys 2021. It racked up four wins, including for best comedy and star Jason Sudeikis. Emmys moved to an indoor-outdoor venue this year due to the pandemic. It was held on Sunday at the Event Deck at LA Live.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

SHAH RUKH BIDS ADIEU TO LORD GANESH

Published

on

NEW DELHI: Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, on Sunday night, bid adieu to Lord Ganesh, with a pray to seeing him again next year. Khan took to his Instagram handle and shared a picture of Lord Ganesha’s idol at home. Sharing the picture, the Padma Shri winning actor wrote, “May Lord Ganesha’s blessings remain with all of us until we see him again next year… Ganpati Bappa Morya!!!”

The picture accumulated love from more than one lakh fans within a few minutes of being shared. For the unversed, in 2018, SRK was trolled for making his youngest son AbRam Khan pray to Lord Ganesha during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. At that time, the superstar posted a picture on his Instagram handle which saw AbRam praying to Lord Ganesha at home. Sharing the picture at that time, SRK wrote, “Our Ganpati ‘Pappa’ is home, as the lil one calls him”.

Currently, SRK, who was last seen in Aanand L Rai’s ‘Zero’, has been shooting for ‘Pathan’ which co-stars Deepika Padukone and apparently, John Abraham too.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

SONU BREAKS SILENCE ON IT RAID CONTROVERSY

Published

on

MUMBAI: After tax raids took place at his offices in Mumbai a few days ago, actor Sonu Sood has now finally reacted to the ongoing controversy.

Sonu has been providing assistance to those in need amid the ongoing pandemic through his charitable trust. On Monday, he posted a statement on his social media handles. “You don’t always have to tell your side of the story. Time will. I have pledged myself to the service of the people of India with all my strength and heart. Every rupee in my foundation is awaiting its turn to save a precious life and reach the needy,” the post read.

He also shared that on many occasions, he has “encouraged brands to donate my endorsement fees for humanitarian causes too, which keeps us going.”

“I have been busy attending to a few guests hence was unable to be at your service, for the last 4 days. Here I am back again in all humility. At your humble service, for life,” the statement concluded.

According to Income Tax Department, Sonu and his associates were involved in Rs 20 crore tax evasion and violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) while raising funds from abroad. 

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

TAAPSEE’S ‘RASHMI ROCKET’ TO RELEASE THIS DUSSEHRA

Published

on

MUMBAI: The makers of the much-awaited Taapsee Pannu-starrer ‘Rashmi Rocket’ have finally announced that the film will be released on October 15 on the OTT platform ZEE5.

On Monday, Taapsee shared the poster of the film along with the release date. The poster gives viewers a quick glimpse of the adrenaline-packed narrative, while Taapsee looks full of grit and determination. Along with it, she penned the caption, “Ye chunautiyon bhari race shuru ho chuki hai aur ab ravan dahan pe hi aake rukegi. Bahot kuch nasht karna hai Rashmi ko iss saal.” “Get ready to run with Rashmi in this race on and off the track. She will need you in this one. #RashmiRocket ready to take off on 15th October 2021 only on @zee5,” Taapsee added.

Following the story of a young girl, who hails from a small village but is blessed with an incredibly large gift, ‘Rashmi Rocket’ is directed by Akarsh Khurana. What seems like an athletic contest turns into her personal battle for respect, honour, and even her very identity.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

SALMAN, KATRINA HEAD TO AUSTRIA TO SHOOT FOR ‘TIGER 3’

Published

on

MUMBAI: After Turkey and Russia, Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif have headed to Austria on Monday to shoot for the international leg of their upcoming movie ‘Tiger 3’.

Salman and Katrina will perform some spectacular action sequences in places like Upper Austria, Salzkammergut, Dachstein Salzkammergut and finally in Vienna. Katrina also shared a video and a picture on her Instagram Story in which she can be seen travelling in Altaussee in Austria, with members of her crew. “Travelling in style with these cuties,” she wrote.

A source from Austria revealed, “’Tiger 3’ will present Austria like never before and Yash Raj Films’ is ensuring that they present the country in the most spectacular way possible. Salman and Katrina will shoot in some never-seen-before locales in the country. They are currently shooting in the areas like Upper Austria, Salzkammergut, Dachstein Salzkammergut where they are filming some intense action sequences for the film.”

Sharing about director Maneesh Sharma’s “grand vision”, the source added, “Maneesh Sharma has a grand vision for ‘Tiger 3’ and Austria presents a perfect backdrop to Tiger and Zoya’s journey and mission in the film. The country is vital to the plot and the screenplay of the film and Maneesh is going all out to shoot some of the most spectacular sequences of the film in Austria.”

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

FANS IN AWE OF TAAPSEE’S PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION

Published

on

MUMBAI: Actress Taapsee Pannu strives to give her best in everything she does and proof of the fact is her recent Instagram post.

On Sunday, Taapsee on her Instagram shared a picture in which she is seen standing in a field with her well-toned back muscles visible in the photograph. “Bhaut sar pe chada rakha hai ise, kisi ki nhi sunti par khud ki sunti hai ….bahut badi baat hai.#TheCalmBeforeTheStorm,” she captioned the post.

The throwback picture appears to be taken during her training session for the upcoming film ‘Rashmi Rocket’, which revolves around the life of an athlete from Gujarat. Netizens have heaped praises on Taapsee for her “amazing” physical transformation for the role. “Mind-blowing transformation,” a fan commented. “Meri sun, body banwa de yaar,” actor and Taapsee’s close friend Abhilash Thapliyal quipped.

Directed by Akarsh Khurana, ‘Rashmi Rocket’ is expected to release on OTT soon.

Continue Reading

Trending