“My films attempts to bring to light the three words that damages the lives of millions of women in three seconds,” says an emotional filmmaker Aleena Khan on her film Code Blue that premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.
Based on Triple Talaq, the controversial law that allows Muslim men to end their marriage by stating ‘Talaq’ three times in oral, written or electronic form – Aleena Khan’s film illustrates the impact of the instant divorce prevalent in the Muslim community, many of whom follow the Hanafi Islamic school of law.
The practice of Triple Talaq where the divorce is instantaneous and sometimes for frivolous reasons, and brings to practice Nikah Halala, where the divorced Muslim woman needs to consummate a second marriage if she wants to go back to their first husband.
While Muslim women’s organization Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has been instrumental in opposing the law, practicing Muslim doctor, Aleena Khan wants to use the medium of movies to bring to light, the lives of such women who find their lives shattered with this instant divorce practice.
Aleena Khan felt traumatized when she encountered cases of women having to endure the mistreatment and misuse of the oral Talaq system. “I once had a pregnant woman whose husband gave her a Talaq for no reason. A Muslim man cannot divorce his wife when she is pregnant. However, the man, with the support of religious representatives, went scot-free and with the belief that his action is approved by the Qur’an and the Hadith,” says an angry Aleena Khan.
“In a highly patriarchal society, it is not easy to live with dignity when you are the victim of an instant divorce and not literate enough to fend for yourself and your children. Such women are victimized easily. But I want every woman to rise and find her true self. Code Blue should inspire millions,” she avers.
Stating the concept of Triple Talaq in one sitting or instant Talaq being alien to Qur’an, Aleena Khan feels that a film would be the best to bring to light the trials and tribulations of the victims. “A Muslim woman today wants legal protection. Instant Triple Talaq takes place though it is unconstitutional and we need it to be criminalized.”
The BMMA survey endorses Aleena Khan’s views as their survey shows that 90 per cent of Indian Muslim women wanted a ban on the unilateral divorce while the governments of Islamic Nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia do not recognize Triple Talaq, it still is being practiced despite the Law in India, a nation with the third-largest Muslim population in the world.
It was not easy for Aleena Khan to make the film though. She had face opposition at every step. “But my family stood by me and that is all that matters,” smiles Aleena Khan. “There is no point in speaking of the need for a change. You need to be the change.”
Code Blue, is made in association with Rahat Kazmi Films, and features Alok Nath, Rishi Bhutani, Sushmita Mukerji and Aleena Khan in lead roles. The film received a standing ovation at its world premiere at Berlin Film Festival.