Bollywood’s ‘Fighter’ Faces Criticism for Misrepresenting Pakistan

fighter faces criticism

In the realm of global cinema, Bollywood has been both celebrated and criticised for its storytelling choices. The recent release of the movie ‘Fighter,’ starring Hrithik Roshan, has stirred controversy, particularly for its portrayal of Pakistan, a recurring theme in Bollywood films. The narrative revolves around top Indian Air Force aviators forming “Air Dragons” to combat imminent dangers. However, Pakistani celebrities, including Hania Amir, Zara Noor Abbas, and Asad Siddiqui, have expressed concern over the perpetuation of negative stereotypes.

The criticism from Pakistani artists highlights a broader sentiment that Bollywood tends to misrepresent Pakistan and Muslims, contributing to an ongoing narrative that influences political dynamics. The movie’s storyline, emphasising camaraderie, brotherhood, and battles, internal and external, has been perceived as another instance of Bollywood perpetuating an anti-Pakistan narrative.

Taking to her Instagram, Zara Noor Abbas urged Bollywood to create patriotic stories without demonising any specific country. She emphasised that promoting patriotism doesn’t necessitate denigrating another nation. Similarly, Asad Siddiqui questioned the need to sell stories of hatred and urged Bollywood to refrain from contributing to negative narratives.

Hania Amir expressed disappointment over Bollywood artists fueling tensions between the two countries. She emphasised the power of cinema and lamented that, despite this awareness, some artists continue to perpetuate harmful narratives. This sentiment echoes a growing frustration with Bollywood’s frequent use of negative stereotypes that exacerbate tensions between India and Pakistan.

The movie ‘Fighter’ has faced backlash for its narrative choices and portrayal of the Balakot incident, showcasing unnecessary aggression and patriotism. The film’s release reignited discussions about the film industry’s responsibility to maintain a positive atmosphere and avoid narratives that can further strain diplomatic relations.

The internet has played a crucial role in amplifying these critiques, with many users expressing disappointment in Bollywood’s recurring choice to depict Pakistan negatively. Memes and social media commentary have highlighted the absurdity of certain stereotypes with a touch of humour that simultaneously critiques and mocks Bollywood’s choices. The recurring getup of Pakistanis being portrayed with excessive kohl in the eye, coupled with the usual greeting “Adaab”, has become a subject of online ridicule.

The trolling of the movie points towards a more considerable sentiment that Bollywood has transformed, with some asserting that it is no longer the same industry they once admired. The nostalgia for the ‘old Bollywood’ is contrasted with the perceived shift towards an industry that is seemingly anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim. The article concludes with a call to move forward, acknowledging the changed landscape of Bollywood and the need for a more inclusive and responsible approach to storytelling.

In summary, the controversies surrounding ‘Fighter’ shed light on the broader implications of Bollywood’s narrative choices. The responses from Pakistani celebrities reflect a desire for a more nuanced, respectful portrayal of Pakistan in global cinema, emphasising the potential influence of films on public opinion and diplomatic relations.

The persistent trend of portraying Pakistan negatively in Indian cinema reflects a more profound issue embedded in the historical and geopolitical dynamics between the two neighbouring countries. The longstanding political tensions and conflicts have often spilt over into various aspects of cultural expression, including Bollywood films. The negative portrayal of Pakistan in Indian movies could be attributed to a combination of historical animosities, political narratives, and, at times, a simplistic approach to storytelling.

Some argue that perpetuating stereotypes and fostering a negative image of Pakistan might serve particular political agendas, while others attribute it to the lack of nuanced understanding or representation in the entertainment industry. This cinematic trend, criticised by many as a perpetuation of biases, underscores the complex relationship between India and Pakistan, where narratives in popular culture become both a reflection and a perpetuation of historical grievances.

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