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Nikah, the movie that catered Triple Talaq Issue back in 1982

The movie was a Hindi/Urdu film starring Raj Babbar, Salma Agha and Deepak Parashar. It was produced and directed by B. R. Chopra in the year 1982. Salma Agha made her debut lead role with this movie in Bollywood. Asrani and Iftekhar were also seen in the movie, playing supporting actors. Asrani as ‘Saif’, was Raj Babbar’s college mate, while Iftekhar donned the role of a servant, ‘Jumman Chacha’ at Deepak Parashar’s house in the movie. The director, producer B.R Chopra made a social comment on the sharia laws of divorce (Talaq) and its misuse in Indian Muslim society.

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Haider (Raj Babbar) and Nilofar (Salma Agha) were students in the Osmania University, Hyderabad. Haider who is an aspiring poet, falls in love with Nilofar without knowing she is already engaged to Wasim (Deepak Parashar), who is a Nawab. Nilofar and Wasim are engaged and they eventually marry. Meanwhile, Haider turns into a successful poet and editor of a magazine. After marriage Nilofar finds out that Wasim is a workaholic and also has the tendency of picking up fights on petty issues. During their honeymoon, Wasim gets a new business contract and spends most of his time at work. Nilofar, is disappointed and feels neglected and lonely. On the occasion of their first wedding anniversary, Wasim and Nilofar arrange a party for which Wasim fails to turn up. Nilofar can’t face the questions of the guests and retires to her bedroom.

The guests are insulted by the absence of the hosts and leave the party. This leads to a heated argument between the couple and in a moment of rage Wasim divorces Nilofar by saying Talaq three times, without fulfilling other conditions required by sharia laws to perform this (which was a usual practice in Indian Muslim society in those times). After a few months, Nilofer now a divorced woman is offered a job by Haider in his magazine. She realizes that Haider is still in love with her.  Meanwhile, Wasim who has divorced her in a moment of anger wants to marry her again. He approaches the Imam and asks his advice on the matter. The Imam tells him the complexity of the Sharia law for remarrying a wife after divorcing her. This requires her to marry someone else and get a divorce later. Only then will Wasim be able to remarry Nilofar.

Haider expresses his love towards Nilofar and proposes marriage to her. They marry with the consent of their parents. Wasim sends a letter to Nilofar asking her to divorce Haider and marry him. Haider reads this letter and thinks that Nilofar and Wasim are still in love. He decides to offer her a divorce so that she can marry Wasim. He brings Wasim to her and offers his consent to divorce her through Talaq. But Nilofar turns it down and questions both of them on their treating of her like a property rather than as a woman. She says she wants to continue her life with Haider. Wasim blesses both of them and leaves.

A scene from the movie.

Triple Talaq is the process of divorce under Sharia Law (Islamic law) where a husband can divorce his wife by pronouncing ‘Talaq’ three times. This is also called oral talaq. According to the Islamic Law, the right to take oral talaq was only given to the man, and not to the wife. In the movie, Salma Agha (Nilofar) is seen questioning the two men in the end that why a woman can’t choose her life, why can’t she decide whom to live with and lead a happy life. Both the men according to their will tried to mould Nilofar’s life and never considered her decision.

The movie is available online on YouTube.

Wajiha Haider
Wajiha Haider
Constantly wandering in search of people and their stories.

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