27 September, 2020

Them Pictures

Pakistani identity vs Bollywood swamp, it's an uneven war

Them Pictures
Nationalism in cinema is a tricky subject in Pakistan, a country that struggled painfully to make a film on its founder, and which has been experiencing various brands of nationalism in its search for 'new roots' after Partition.

Jinnah, made by a Pakistani, Akbar S. Ahmed, created a controversy when it was released in 1998. Not many Pakistanis approved of their Quaid-e-Azam being shown in tears and fewer still could reconcile to the horror of watching Christopher Lee, of Dracula fame, in the title role. If that wasn't enough, Jinnah's producer committed the cardinal sin of casting Shashi Kapoor, an Indian, in the role of the narrator.

Things Indian do bring out the nationalist sentiment in Pakistanis. For instance, the focus of discussions around the dinner table can quickly change from descriptions of the grand Aishwarya-Abhishek wedding to talk of anti-Muslim biases, as someone points out that none of the famous Khans were included in the guest list. "Amitabh has this bias against Muslims...", "He's anti-Pakistan...." It...


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