The tagline of documentary film Rubaru Roshni, produced by Aamir Khan, reads, “Three unbelievable true stories.” And rightly so. While these tales of emotion, loss, and forgiveness will shake you up, on the surface, they are unbelievable and takes time to sink in. The documentary also continues to linger in your mind, long after you have watched it.
Helmed by Svati Chakravarthy Bhatkal, Rubaru Roshni showcases three impactful tales of forgiveness. Three families, who lost their loved ones to the hands of another human, open up on their ordeal. While getting the culprit punished and seeking revenge seemed the obvious choice, the families took an unimaginable step – of forgiving them. In the documentary film, they talk about what made them take the big decision, and how it helped them get closure.
The stories are real-life incidents from the past three decades. The first part is titled ‘The Orphan and the Convict’ and talks about the broad daylight murder of politician Rajiv Maken. The second one – ‘The Farmer and the Nun’ is the story of Sister Rani Maria, who was killed brutally in a bus in Madhya Pradesh. And lastly, ‘The Terror and The Mom’ is the story of Kia Scherr, who lost her husband and daughter in the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
Director Svati Chakravarthy’s Rubaru Roshni gives the viewers an opportunity to look beyond black and white. The film acts as a window to know what makes a criminal. In the current scenario, when many countries are batting for reformation of convicts, the film also projects the other side of a crime. Walking a tightrope, it maintains objectivity and doesn’t pass any judgment. It only lets the culprit open up on what made them carry out the heinous act and their remorse on the same.
Hats off to Chakravarthy for gaining the confidence of the people involved, who open up their deepest wounds on camera. A special mention to editor Hemanti Sarkar, for holding the reins tight on the film. A subject like this could have come out as a disaster if not kept fast paced and linear. Also, the powerful music by Aditya-Nayantara keeps you connected to the narrative throughout. Aamir Khan has been credited as the narrator, which interestingly, is the last thing you will remember about the film.
In a time when violence and hatred have become a normal affair, Rubaru Roshni makes you sit up and introspect about things around you. The stories in Rubaru Roshni are soul stirring but would seem unrealistic to a few. Some may even find loopholes in it on the basis of politics and religion. But the premise of each story is to let go of your anguish to find inner peace. It is not an easy task but worth a try. As social worker Kia Scherr, while narrating her experience sums it up, ‘hatred is like consuming poison and hoping your enemy dies’.
Originally titled Where the Light Comes In, Rubaru Roshni will air in seven languages across the Star Network on January 26. It will also be available on Hotstar and have a Netflix release in the coming days.