Firaaq follows the life of several ordinary people, some who were victims, some silent observers, and some perpetrators one month after the2002 violence in Gujarat. It focuses on how their lives are affected and (irrevocably) changed.
Khan Saheb (Naseeruddin Shah) is an elderly Muslim classical vocalist, who remains blissfully optimistic of the situation happening around him. His servant, Karim Mian (Raghubir Yadav), tries to alert him to the problems the Muslim community is facing, but Khan Saheb only realises the extent of the trauma upon seeing the destruction of a shrine dedicated to the Sufi saint, Wali Gujarati. A middle-age Hindu housewife, Aarti (Deepti Naval), is traumatised because she did not help a Muslim woman being chased by a mob and finds a way to atone for her sins upon finding Mohsin, a Muslim orphan who wanders the city in search for his family. Meanwhile her husband, Sanjay (Paresh Rawal), and his brother, Deven (Dilip Joshi), try to bribe police officers to prevent Deven’s arrest for gang-rape. Muneera (Shahana Goswami) and her husband Hanif (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), are a young Muslim couple who return home only to find it looted and burnt. Muneera struggles to relate to her Hindu neighbour Jyoti (Amruta Subash) in the following days, as she suspects her for taking part in the looting. Hanif, along with several other Muslim men, plan to retaliate against the violence and their helplessness by searching for a gun to exact revenge. Sameer (Sanjay Suri) Shaikh and Anuradha Desai (Tisca Chopra) are a wealthy, interreligious couple, whose store was burnt during the carnage. They decide to move to Delhi to escape the violence and Sameer comes into conflict with his wife’s family over expressing his identity as a Muslim in India.