30 September, 2020

Gully Boy, Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai... How Bollywood Has Broken Free From Stereotyping Muslim Characters

The Hindi film industry appears to be finally breaking free from the shackles of stereotyping Muslim protagonists

Black And White And Shades Of Grey
Rishi Kapoor as Rauf Lala in Agneepath.
Gully Boy, Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai... How Bollywood Has Broken Free From Stereotyping Muslim Characters
outlookindia.com
2020-02-07T13:05:41+05:30

Manmohan Desai, Bollywood’s prolific hit machine of the seventies, had his own yardstick of measuring the success of a movie. “If I see a group of burqa-clad women watching a new film, I take it as a sure-shot indicator of a blockbuster in the making,” the film maker, known for such mega hits as Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and Naseeb (1981), once famously said. His remark does underline the community’s contribution as an audience towards commercial success of a film but, more importantly, it reinforces the Muslim stereotype that the dream merchants of Hindi cinema have per­petuated onscreen for decades. And the fact remains that Bollywood has remained majoritarian in its outlook despite riding on the success of stars from the minority community.

One certain Yusuf Khan had to assume a Hindu name to be acceptable to the majority community. It is debatable whether Dilip Kumar would have been as successful without pandering to maj­oritarian sensibilities. Or a Begum Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi become as fam­ous if she had not turned...

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