Fiza (2000)

Fiza (2000) is concisely described at IMDB here: In 1993 Fiza’s brother disappears during the riots in Mumbai. In 1999 Fiza is tired of waiting and goes looking for him. But there’s a little more to it than this, since when he’s gone he becomes a TERRORIST!  And this makes me think, can I write the word terrorist without being put on some kind of a watch list?  I’ll let you know.  I suppose the movie’s poster hints at what happened to the lost brother.

Fiza (Hindi: फ़िज़, Urdu: ﻓﻀﺎ) is a 2000 Indian film written and directed by Khalid Mohammed.  The film stars Karisma Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Jaya Bachchan. Although the film failed at the box office, it was well acclaimed by critics. Originally Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan were supposed to have cameo appearances, but their scenes were removed due to considerations about the length of the running time. The film is about Fiza (Karisma Kapoor), whose brother, Amaan (Hrithik Roshan), disappears during the 1993 Mumbai riots. Fiza and her mother Nishatbi (Jaya Bachchan) desperately hold on to the hope that one day he will return. However, six years after his disappearance, Fiza, fed up with living with uncertainty, resolves to go in search of her brother. Driven by her mother Nishatbi’s fervent hope and her own determination, Fiza decides to use whatever means she can—the law, media, even politicians—to find her brother, which brings her into contact with various characters and situations.  When she does find him, to her horror she sees that he has joined a terrorist group!!!!! (source)

One of the first gorgeous songs in the film is Piya Haji Ali by A.R. Rahman (who will be embarking on a world tour this year) which plays as we see the stunning views of  Haji Ali Dargah Mosque in Mumbai. All the music from the film is composed by Anu Malik.

The Filmfare for Best Actress went to Karisma Kapoor, and Best Supporting Actress went to Jaya Bachchan for their performances in Fiza. I always enjoy the intensity Karisma Kapoor brings to her characters, and for my tastes, the more hysterical the better!  Kapoor has plenty of opportunities to be her most animated and outraged best in portraying Fiza.

Fiza is fietsy and surly as it is, but she’s put on edge even more than usual since the ’93 bombings, and the fact that her brother has mysteriously vanished.  Her mother (Jaya) processes her grief over her missing son differently than Fiza and she’s trapped somewhere between denial and faith, but Fiza’s frustrations are manifested in her acting out more than is acceptable for a nice Muslim girl.  Her mom gently warns her about this…

Fiza sometimes goes out to the club and on one occasion she seems to attempt to pick a fight through a dance. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, but I’m sorry to report that I think this was a girl fight over a guy.  I hate to see the ladies stoop so low, but hota hai.

Here she is in the club about to show her dance/fight moves. It’s like she’s a hybrid Capoeira master, Bollywood style. It’s one of those item numbers that makes you think What on earth am I watching and why? In other words the type I love most! Not a lot of people know this, but I choreographed this number:

Fiza has a fiery personality as it is, but too often she is pushed to the limit and her very sharp tongue and tantrums are justified.  There are some scoundrels who follow her making lewd comments and generally sexually harass her;  as they say in India they are eve teasing. Isn’t that a crazy term, twisting the fault back to the woman?

Idiots!  They go to a further level at  taunt her with threats of throwing some acid at her.   Look how casually these n’er do wells toss up the acid bottle here:Well, boys will be boys afterall, (kidding) and nobody messes with the Fiza, and she just snatches the  bottle of acid, taking control of the situation!

If Fiza can speak her mind in the face of extreme harassment, have cool nightclub dance challenges, can’t she go to infiltrate some top-secret terrorist group to try to find her missing brother? YES SHE CAN! So she sheds her salwar kameez and puts on her polar fleece jacket, some acid wash jeans, and her backpack and heads Kashmir or where ever they train terrorists, to handle things! Does she have time to buy a puppet?  NO!

After slipping on her high waisted, acid wash jeans, Fiza happens upon Shusmita Sen grooving out to Mehboob Mere, with playback singers Sunidhi Chauhan and Karsan Sargathia.  I was listening to  Curry Smuggler’s podcast last week, and they made reference to the film, which reminded me that in my ever-growing backlog of movie screen caps, I had several images from Fiza.  This was reminder enough to help get to posting about it. It’s the eclectic mash-up of  Mehboob Mere with Slave 4 U by Britney Spears (which was based on Nasty Girl by Vanity 6 ) that reminded me to do this post.  You can find that HERE: episode 2 track 4.

Fast forward to find that Fiza locates her radicalized brother outside of a gift shop.

Fiza brings her brother back to Mumbai, but he’s different, sort of stressed out and tense since he’s an undercover terrorist! Mom tries to help him out by taking him to a relaxation/friendship group in the park called the Ha Hi Hi club, lead by Johnny Lever. I think a better naam for the club would have been The LOL club.

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the more peculiar screen caps I found from Fiza and I’d love to hear about your impressions and memories of the film.  I will always take a screen cap when I see the word melodious, so I’ll leave you with this one from Fiza:

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43 thoughts on “Fiza (2000)

  1. Ah, Fiza! This was the first Bollywood film I saw that did not have a happy ending. Hrithik was totally hot though, which meets my criteria for good film. Haven’t watched in ages. Now I will have to watch it again and see your choreography. If I ever need to fight someone, you’ll be the first person I call!

    • Anirban-ji,
      Looks like from her filmography
      that she had a few more parts through 2006, not counting cameos. I know she made Shakti:The Power after that, another one where I loved her constant screaming breakdowns. I think if I were a man, I easily be able to soothe Karisma’s crazy characters, “shhh, shhh, it’s alright.” Wait for the crying to cease, then shake some gold bangles and jewerly in front of her eyes, and she’d calm right down…until the next breakdown! I really should have focused more on Hrithik, but Karisma tends to eclicpe everyone with her tantrums, so that I scarcely notice the rest of the film’s actors, plots, etc..
      Thanks for stopping in to comment yaar.

  2. I really like Fiza and glad you saw it. I agree about Fiza’s awkward dance, it’s good but so out-of-place in the film. But Sush’s item number was one of my all-time faves.

    Did you know that it was Isha Koppikar who played Fiza’s friend?

    • Nicki-ji,
      I really loved that film, and all the item numbers are attention getters for sure, come more well placed than others. I did realize that it was Isha Koppikar, but failed to give her any attention/credit. I’ll add her name to the tags to be nice. :) Thanks. Interesting to see her filmography, since it’s after Fiza, that she switched to the Hindi industry. Do you have a favorite southie film of hers?

  3. Thanks for this mini-Bollywood-night, actually in the morning here. I feel I’ve been there and back with you. Yes, poor Karisma, how she suffers. First time I saw her was in Raja Hindustani with Aamir Khan, and both their performances were what lead me to relax my ‘nothing pre-Dil Se’ rule. Of course in that film they were both intensely emotional and intensely funny (actually funny so you actually laughed).

    Anyway, I enjoyed your write-up here so much that I am putting Fiza straight on my priority list. I haven’t seen a good Hindi film for about three weeks now, nothing but duds. This may or may not be the right film to break the run of duds! I’ll let you know.

    • Joss-ji,
      I’m delighted that we are one in enjoying Karisma’s suffering/shrieking roles. OMG, I LOVED her in Raja Hindustani, I was thinking, “Gurl, don’t wear that red dress, they are setting you up for danger, perhaps unwittingly, but beware!” And on a side note, what’s with Johnny Lever’s character turning out the lesbian on the not so down low Navneet Nishan’s character. WTF? Love that film! Love it! That baby in the back pack fleeing scenes that turn to martial arts WITH the baby STILL in the backpack!?!? And speaking of babies, love Kunal Khemu as Aamir’s little buddy sidekick in this. And when they set up Aamir to look the fool in the suit!? And the part where Karisma accepts the home from her dad, BIG MISTAKE! I guess I need to post on it one day because that movie is spetacular, and I won’t even get started on the music, which I briefly touched on here way back:

      Tere Ishq Mein Nachenge

      Pardesi Pardesi

      Surely you must toss out the ‘nothing pre-Dil Se’ rule by friend. :) As usual, thanks for your entertaining comments and kind words. Report back with your impressions of Fiza.

  4. Sita-ji, thanks for this post. I really want to watch this now, if only for Karisma’s performance. I loved her in Shakti – crazy and screaming is right up my alley.

    Is that Isha (Eesha…whatever) Kopikkar smirking in the last screencap?

    • Ani-ji,
      Yes, you will adore this if you loved her in
      Shakti : The Power, which is equally enjoyable, but on a more mentally twisted way. Nana was so extremely crazed and to come against Karisma’s hysteria made for a ticking time bomb of a filum. Yes, it is Isha Koppikar sneering there, which Nicki was nice enough to point out in her comment. How are things over there in Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan? Oh wait, it’s Armenia, right? ;) Thanks for stopping in yaar. xoxo

      • Sita-ji
        We, in the glorious land of Armenia, apparently do not read comments thoroughly (sorry Nicki!). But we do love crazy Nana and screaming Karisma in Shakti. We love Hrithik’s thumb even more, so Fiza is steadily climbing on top of our list.

    • Ani-ji,

      Thanks for letting us know dealings in Armenia. I am glad that you can speak, as I have requested, for the entire land of Armenia! I adore playing the part of the ugly American: “Now what was the name of that country again? It’s in Russia, right?” This type of ignorant entitlement comes so easy to us all here in the USA. ;) Maybe Nicki’s comment wasn’t even there when you posted yours girl, wordpress is like that.

  5. Hmm who knew Britney’s I’m a slave for you was based on Nasty Girl, thanks for that link. I saw Fiza in my early days of rediscovering bollywood and what i remember the most is Sushmita’s sizzzling number which became the subject of jokes on youtube with the ‘may he poop on my knee’ english translation

    I also remember Karisma’s fierce dancing, i loved it but the rest of the movie is quite forgettable although i love Krithiks Aaja mahiya’s no.

    Your screencaps are always hilarious, i love and Lol’ed at the ‘Your tongue is getting very sharp’ screencap i wish i had the guts to say that to many people around me without getting a tight slap on the face ;0)

    • bollywooddeewana-ji,
      Well I’m sure if nothing more, Slave 4U is heavily inspired by the Vanity 6 number, at least that’s what my ear hears, having been exposed to Vanity 6 well before Britney. They both capture the same not so classy aspects of womanhood, na? ;) Thanks for linking in that joke version of Mehboob Mere. :) Thanks for “getting” my jokes. I love you! Yes, it’s often only manners, social sanctions, and as you so astutely point out, the fear of receiving a tight slap to the face, that help us to keep our sharpened tongues dulled down or silent, but just think if we could all lash out like Fiza? Oh, I suppose just as you say, more tight slaps to the face. ;)

  6. i’ve never seen this! but then, I think I’ve missed out on a lot of movies from the late 90s-early 2000s. I know I have a copy of this lying around the house somewhere, just need to find it now. Thanks!

  7. Alert! I just looked at my online horoscope for today which basically and ironically gives me license to act like a Karisma Kapoor hysterical character. Dekh:

    Your horoscope for March 26, 2010
    This is a very climactic time of year for you, S, and you may feel as if many difficult issues are coming to a dramatic head. As a result, you may start lashing out and snapping at people who do not deserve such treatment. Your actions may be over the top, making the issues at hand even more difficult to deal with. The key today is to bring more balance into your life – especially emotional balance. By bringing your feelings under control and stabilizing them, you can better deal with whatever difficult external issues come your way.

    So shut up! Get out! Bloody servants! I said get out!

    Calming down now. Thanks.

  8. I also wonder if commenting on this post would put all of us on that “terrorist” list. Do we all get sent to Gitmo ?, or some other “correctional facility” within the US ?
    Lots of material in here for me to comment upon, lets see :-
    1) Have not yet seen Fiza, but seems like a “worthy unintentional comedy” bollywood movie.
    2) I think some NFL team should draft Karishma Kapoor as a wide receiver. If she can handle that acid bottle with such ease, imagine what she could do with an ordinary football.
    3) Had not seen those mother & “eve teasing” scenes in a while, thanks for posting them.
    4) Polar Fleece Jackets, acid washed jeans, Johnny Lever, unmelodious voices; Ah!!! the glories of Bollywood.

    • Samir-ji, Bhaisahib! Dost!
      I am sensing that you see through the madness of my plan, for if we all are now on a list for using and responding to the word terrorism, perhaps we can then be sent to the same detention camp and maybe sit in a lounge watching Bollywood, and would that be so bad?

      1) It is.

      2) Brilliant, but she just had her second child last week, so maternity leave will interfere with training camp, so maybe next year.

      3) Will be sure to post more since I like seeing the term eve teasing used. The term has always captured my attention and its etiology is so creepy.

      Many feminists and voluntary organizations have suggested that the expression be replaced by a more appropriate term. According to them, considering the semantic roots of the term in Indian English, eve-teasing refers to the temptress nature of Eve, placing responsibility on the woman as a tease, as though the aggressive response of the males was normal rather than criminal. (source)

      4) I know, right!? I failed to mention the high-waisted style of the acid washed jeans, should go in and add that. It’s chock full of WHAT!? moments along with some really great music. Love the Bollywood.

      Appreciate your visit and comments yaar. :)

  9. Oh, goodness, “Mere Mehboob” is the prince(ss) of item numbers. I don’t think I’ve seen Fiza yet; unless it’s ridiculously over the top I don’t usually care for those sorts of endings, but I might have to make an exception.

    • ajnabi-ji,
      Yes, make the exception, since it’s really a good movie with a bit of everything, without being truly masala if that makes sense. Sorry that Christy gave a spoiler in her comment. :( Don’t let it keep you from it yaar. Thanks for stopping in.

  10. Hi, Sita-ji. I was wondering when you’d finally get around to Fiza! (Remember, there was a comment that you left on my blog a couple of years ago saying you were going to check it out. :)

    Anyway, I enjoyed Fiza too, with all its hysteria and melodrama and maybe more than occasional absurdity. I agree with you more or less about those songs too… “Piya Haji Ali” was pretty gorgeous, for the music and the scenes… On the other hand, that Karisma Kapoor dance number also made me wonder what on Earth I was watching and why (even if I was watching the movie for free on YouTube)… Unfortunately with that one, I can’t really say I loved it either. The Sushmita Sen number may have been almost as silly, popping up the way it did in the middle of a terrorist training camp…but I found it to be much more enjoyable.

    And by the way, as you might vaguely recall, I found another dance to “Mehboob Mere” that was almost as exciting as Sushmita’s and twice as frenetic – from my favorite Pakistani mujra dancer, Megha…

    • Richard-ji,
      Yes eventually I get around to watching them. Actually watched it a few months back. So glad you saw it too and we can discuss. Overall great music, especially the Rahman number. Yes that Karisma kicking dance ass in the bar, was a real WTF? It’s funny because the Shusmita number is completely incongruent, just pops up, but I suppose the viewer needs some relief from terrorist training camp, which gets a bit tense. ;) It seems to be a real desi favorite that tune, but as far as the more naughty girl, harsh voiced suggestive numbers I think Khal Nayak’s Choli Ke Peeche is far better. Madhuri is my Padmini. :)

      WOW! Thanks for this Megha clip. Man at the 3:30 mark I thought her head may come off and at the 4 minute mark, she makes that knee spinning thing look so easy!! Excellent to watch. Didn’t we meet over her in the first place way back, discussing her and swapping mujra clips? I do believe so.

  11. Sita-ji, yes, “Choli Ke Peeche” is a better scene and Madhuri Dixit is great. (Sanjay Dutt’s dance for this song was pretty good too, though it ended in such a nasty way…)

    Glad you liked the Megha clip. It did look as though her head could fly off at one point. I like that highly energetic head roll with lots of hair flying around. I’ve seen that before in Sufi dances and heavy metal jams.

    It’s true, we first met over mujras and Megha. I quickly checked my archives, and I think it was October of 2007. Wow, I’m starting to get nostalgic just thinking about those days :)

    • Richard-ji,
      I know, right?! Wiping a tear of nostalgia from my eye. Who would have guess ed the Megha would have brought our blognection together? Love the WWW! :)

  12. I enjoyed reading this review! I’ve always meant to see this film but never have- it seems quite underrated. I’m SO glad you’ve introduced me to that hilarious dance number of Karishma’s! “What on earth am I watching and why?” – too funny. :)

  13. MinaiMinai-ji,
    Glad you liked the dance number, LOL. BTW, I added your great blog to the blogroll here under Bollywood blogs, even though I know your’s is much more eclectic. I have to revamp my sidebars soon, since more and more Southie stuff is of interest for me, thus need another heading. Thanks for stopping in to comment yaar. :)

  14. Liked the film, but loved the songs…especially the soulful “Tu Fiza Hai.” Anu Malik’s best score, IMO. Inconsistent story-line and the Hrithik turns Rambo ending prevent film from being better.

    Best way to watch film is to go to song menu and press “Play all.” :)

    • Mister Naidu-ji!
      Nice of you to stop in and comment and I couldn’t agree more with the inconsistent story-line of the film. The music is excellent, and though I really like all the Malik tunes and the Tu Fiza Hai one you mentioned is lovely:

      even still the A.R Rahman’s Piya Haji Ali stands out for me more. There’s so much great music from that film, which helps cement the disjointed film together more. Thanks for the visit!

  15. Sitaji!

    Thanks for the warm welcome!
    I love reading your in-depth reviews and appreciate your dry and sly humor (“Does she have time to buy a puppet? No!”… lmao)…hope to stop by again soon to comment on one of your marvelous posts :D

    • Mister Naidu-ji,
      You’re welcome and thanks for “getting” my humor. I’m delighted that it could come across in the post. Thank you-ji for making my day. :)

  16. fiza great story, shame they used Hritihik who just seem like he is stuck on pretty in this film. I love Karishma, and I am totally overawed by her frantic passionate commitment to a role. karishma has charisma. haa!

    • primaji!
      LOL at the “stuck on pretty” but he just can’t help it can he? He’s often too pretty to be taken seriously as a man. ;) I LOVE Karishma! She’s really the best in my book at playing the hysterical woman, and here in Fiza I love her acid washed jeans uniform donned to reclaim her missing brother, and thus reducing terrorism! Have you seen her in Shakti: The Power (2002)? She’s extremely crazed in that and gets to play off of the supreme crazy of Nana Patekar, plus there’s a friendly appearance by SRK, your boyfriend. ;)

  17. ok sitaji. i got some bad news, Srk and i broke up. yaaar. its true. i replaced him with a cheeky hirsute Anil Kapoor, i dunno maybe its the handlebar moustachio, or the fact that he looks like an impish rug ( i mean he even has hairs on his hairs!) but i just love him, Nayak did it for me. then he has to kiss all his heroines post 1942 love story, sheer bolly opportunism. talk about continuing the dialogue haha.
    yeah Shakti is freaking hysteria-rific. Nana Patekar just blew my freaking mind, so much so that when i see him in other stuff i’m thinking ” what happened to the b’stardo…. ohh yeah he’s an actor” Karishma was good though not as hysterical in Raja Hindustani. Not completely sold on Aamir at all, but she is soooo watchable i just can’t get enough. oooh btw she is slated to make a comeback soon, fingers crossed.

    • Prima Londongirlinthe D Mojet-ji, Arre yaar! Nahin! But yeah, totally understandable, Anil is great, as a bad guy, a good guy, a simple minded guy. Have you seen this?

      Karisma is a hysterical delight, nah? In Raja Hindustani she is a dynamo; remember her galivanting around in that inappropriately tight, short red dress in the village? Silly girl. Remember her freak out on the beach scene with SRK in Dil To Pagal Hai? That was great too and I’ve heard the fantastic news about her comeback, here’s more on that:

      I love crazy bad Nana! Did you see him in Parinda (with Anil-ji) ? He’s mad! Thanks for your filmi pyar, behen. ;)

  18. Didn’t like Fiza at all I’m afraid probably because I quite like seeing the likes of Hritikh in romantic roles. Who needs the tension of seeing Hritikh turn into a terrorist, and don’t even get me started on Karisma’s hysterics. The level of intensity is probably my lasting memory of this movie. I probably had to take some tablets afterwards to prevent a full blown migraine!

    Actually, no. Fiza did yield some wonderful songs, especially Aaja Mahiya. Enjoyed the item number too – much needed light relief.

    That’s probably also why I enjoyed Aishwarya’s item number from Shakti The Power – goodness, that film needed it!

    • irnaqureshi-ji,

      It is an intently shreeky movie, that from the start couldn’t be taken seriously, so it was sort of something I watched ironically as a “terrorist comedy” and then could enjoy it a lot. Sick, but true. I love this sentence: Who needs the tension of seeing Hritikh turn into a terrorist? So true! ;)

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