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Prominent Indian author calls new anti-Muslim Bollywood film dangerous

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NEW YORK: A new Bollywood film Sooryavanshi, which draws large crowds in India, projects the right-wing Hindu nationalist agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modis’ government, with one in three executives having a blood-curdling Islamophobic image, according to a Washington Post opinion piece.

It (the film) justifies the repeal of the special status granted to Kashmir, where thousands of young people have been detained and an internet blackout was imposed in 2019, Rana Ayyub, a renowned Indian author, wrote in the article: Why an Indian films success at the box office should be of concern to all of us.

Like the government, the film argues that the repeal of Section 370 of the Indian constitution wiped terrorism out of the valley, Ms. Ayyub wrote in her article.

The film stirs up the dangerous conspiracy of amorous jihad, which describes Muslim men as colluding to seduce or kidnap Hindu women or girls and convert them to Islam, she said, calling the film dangerous.

But other Islamophobic tropes are at the center of the film, which stars one of India’s biggest stars, Akshay Kumar, a big fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and an actor famous for his chauvinistic and hyper films. -nationalists, the article mentioned. Ms Ayyub wrote:

Sooryavanshi is one of the most successful films in India after the locks of covid-19 eased. Its success contributes to the climate of hatred and discrimination that India estimates that 200 million Muslims face every day.

Every third frame in the film is a blood-curdling Islamophobic image. While a high society Hindu character played by (Akshay) Kumar gives lessons in patriotism, the Muslim antagonist responds with hatred.

He is ungrateful, with a long beard and a skullcap. Whenever the protagonist sermons the Indian Muslim to stand in line, the audience in the theater where I saw the film whistles and claps.

If the filmmakers had read any news about Kashmir, they could have touched the reality. But who wants to talk about reality when the goal is propaganda?

Propaganda sells, of course. The news only gets in the way.

Recently, Indian police filed a complaint against 102 Twitter accounts that include journalists, activists and lawyers who spoke out against the anti-Muslim violence that took place in the northeastern state of Tripura. , in October.

Hindu nationalists have vandalized mosques and attacked Muslim homes, but police in Tripura pursued those who opposed them, accusing them of sedition.

For weeks in New Delhi, Muslim Friday prayers have been hampered by Hindu nationalists. The Muslims were eventually displaced and a large Hindu prayer service was held in the presence of a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party on November 5.

In this context, a film like Sooryavanshi is not just entertainment. The film reiterates the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims, ignoring the many episodes of violence perpetrated by radical Hindus.

(Akshay) Kumar’s protagonist talks about the 1993 explosions in Mumbai but conveniently ignores the 1992 anti-Muslim carnage that preceded it. It conveniently ignores the 2002 riots in Gujarat, the 2006 Malegaon explosions that killed Muslims after Friday prayers, and the 2008 Malegaon explosions, where retired Indian army officers were implicated.

In India, Muslim seminaries and organizations are being sued by the Modi government for allegedly spreading terror in the country using foreign money.

In the film, a Muslim scholar and priest who heads an organization is seen as the mastermind of a Pakistan-funded terrorist link. The filmmakers should have at least given writing credits to Modi and his allies.

Sadly, the film is produced by Karan Johar, a highly respected director who directed a film called My Name Is Khan. This film was about the demonization of Muslims after 9/11.

But that was before Modi. Johar’s new worldview is celebrated by government; he recently received one of the highest civilian honors in the country in the presence of the prime minister and his powerful interior minister, Amit Shah.

Sooryavanshi is dangerous. After looking at it, impossible not to think about Nazi Germany, where Hitler cultivated a film industry that paid homage to him and made propaganda films against the Jews.

In a healthy world, the Indian film industry and actors, directors and producers around the world would denounce him for his criminal and brazen Islamophobia. But maybe I’m asking too much.

If Bollywood continues this aggressive descent into nationalism and hatred, it will have blood on its hands. No box office record can change that.

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