Directed and Produced by Kamal Hassan, the movie Vishwaroopam was scheduled to release on January 25th. The Tamil Nadu government has now decided to ban the movie to be screened in the state following concerns by Muslim groups that the movie could disturb communal harmony. Reason being, Vishwaroopam does what so many Bollywood movies have done in the past – show Muslims as terrorists and enemies of the state.
The question arises, as a religion based community, is it right or wrong to ask to ban a movie because the particular community has been depicted as terrorists? Now before we answer this question objectively, let us take a few examples.
No one will forget the spine chilling saga when men armed with the deadliest weapons simply walked into the busy roads of Mumbai and fired down hundreds of people. The only terrorist captured alive was tried and hanged in the country after years of legal procedures. Though many say that any punishment to such cold blooded criminals is not enough, but anything more could not have been done.
We all know the reason why they were here, which religion they belonged, what their motive was. But despite the scale of the tragedy, do fellow Mumbaikars start looking at every person of the same religion as a terrorist? No.
The numerous bollywood movies based on terrorism
- Bombay by Mani Ratnam
- Dil Se
- New York
And the list goes on….
In Bollywood and likewise in Hollywood, a number of terrorism based movies are made where the men on the wrong side are shown to be Muslims with extreme hatred towards Hindus. And these movies come and go. Hindus, Muslims, Sikh, Christians alike watch these movies, discuss, enjoy/hate and forget within a few days. But it is true that movies play a huge impact temporarily. For those who do not explore the finer nuances of the movie’s storyline, the gist of the movie only becomes – the Muslim terrorists killed innocent Hindus and then the Hindus and Muslims fought, and in the end the brave forces came to stop it all.
Some movies do send across a good message, like Dil Se showed how the big and small acts of violence affect numerous lives. How it should all end and all religions should live as brothers and start respecting eachother.
But then there are movies that only depict the violence and the hatred and the petty reasons behind them. I would not name them, but after watching some of these terrorism based movies, it feels that the sole purpose was to show the blood that was shed.
Again the big question – Do Bollywood movies that demonise Muslims affect the way people think and hamper communal harmony.
In India, people take movies seriously
Most of our favorite actors are Khans, be it a young Hindu girl who loves Shahrukh Khan or Salman Khan or enjoying movies of Saif Ali Khan, Aamir Khan, we love these actors, no matter what their religion is. And moreover, people in India worship celebrities. So when a certain movie depicts a certain religion or community as a whole to be doing the wrong things, the movie makers need to be extremely cautious.
The purpose of a movie can be many – to simply entertain people or to make them learn something, to give a message. But in the end, after watching a movie, the audience does think about what happened in the movie.
Making a Bollywood on true happenings like the Kargil war or the 26/11 attacks is one thing, but time and again writing new stories making the same people as the bad guys is too cliché and too senseless now.
Talking about the ban of Vishwaroopam, perhaps the ban will be lifted after all. The movie might be successful with the audience in general. The movie might end up earning a lot.
But I think it is time Bollywood movies came up with a different villain than portraying religion driven motives.
Vishwaroopam happens to be the 95 crore film, Kamal Hassan’s most expensive movie ever. He is deeply saddened by the action being taken by the government and says that “neutral and patriotic” muslims would have been proud of the movie. He is going to move the court against the ban.
Should all movies depicting Muslims as terrorists be banned? What do you think? Post your comments below!