Because you can head here for a more detailed plot summery, I will keep my retelling brief. Instead, I'd rather focus on this film's connections to international cinema and the questions it raises for me about the expectations for women in nationalist narratives. [This post will be rife with spoilers, as it's impossible to say anything about this film's message without discussing the final scene. You have been warned.]
Swiftly, the survivor is captured and discovered to be carrying some mysterious war intelligence for the White Army. This makes him a valuable prisoner indeed, and Maria is tasked with watching over him. But because he looks and acts rather
It's still near enough to no man's land to provide some thrills, however.
*Biggest spoilers below*
Both stories trade on doomed romance that transcends earlier loyalties ... for a time. Both emphasize rejecting a beautiful enemy for a more beautiful country. Both use the desert island trope: one on an actual island, the other a snowed-in Kashmiri lodge. But while the protagonist in Fanaa has to kill the father of her son, and thus destroy her family (or save it, depending on your point of view), Maria was never a nurturing figure to begin with. It's easier to understand how her military training would take over in a moment of crisis.
I don't mention this because I think it's easier to execute one's lover than one's husband (Sophie's Choice much?), but it surprises me that in both cases, the Indian and Soviet ideals for the average woman (mother, wife, worker) are being superseded by the "higher" call or "need" of one's country. A film from India in the 50s, especially in the rather socialist Mother India (1957), sure. And in Soviet society in the 1950s, absolutely. Obviously, society trumps the individual in socialist narratives. But in Fanaa? An Indian film from the last dozen years? That's SO 60 years ago, guys. I guess nationalism and patriotism still need the same kinds of stories to achieve their ends, no matter to what country you pledge allegiance.