Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stoning of Soraya M

How would you feel if your father suddenly disowns you? What would you do if your husband and children, people you loved all your life, turn their back at you? What if the entire neighbourhood suddenly treats you worse than a dog?
I would have never considered such situations if not for the recent movie I watched. Stoning of Soraya M, an American drama set in Iran, has an enticing theme that invites you to reflect on certain aspects of life we take for granted.
The story is centered on a man, a journalist, who halts in a remote Iranian village owing to a car trouble. He is approached by the principle character, Zahra, who tells a harrowing tale of her niece, Soraya, who is stoned to death the previous day. It’s a promise Zahra has made, that the truth shall be told to the world. Soraya is seen as an “inconvenient wife” by her husband who plots to get rid of her by accusing her of having an illicit affair. Sharia law demands those breaking marriage vows to be stoned to death. 
Many powerful scenes dominate the movie. There is one where Soraya is being prepared for the stoning process. She appears fearless and bears a look on the face, only those who lived a guilt-free life can have. When asked whether she fears death, she answers, “I don't fear death but dying, stoning and the pain.” The elaborate stoning scene is heart rending. One gets to watch a father stoning his daughter, a husband making a good aim at his wife who served him throughout her life.
Stones shower upon her but the procedure is such that it kills the person but gradually and painfully. The scene is all the more disturbing when you know the movie is based on a true story. Zahra stands out for being an epitome of strength. Her struggle to get the story to the world, disapproving all the authorities and threats, holds the movie intact.
The movie is weighted with the message of how women are deprived of freedom of expressions and thoughts in such places. As the journalist escapes with the tapes that hold Soraya’s story, and the movie ends, one can take solace in knowing the movie is based on the book written by the journalist. It only goes to show Soraya’s wish has been fulfilled, that her story has reached the world.

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