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Assalamulaikum, I am @SanobarFatma and will be curating @TheMuslimsofIN today and tomorrow and will be talking about two things we love discussing - #movies and #politics.
In any conversation thediscussion is mostly about “kaunsi nayi film arahi hai” or “abki baar kiski sarkaar”
Films have a large influence on both culture and mindset, and can serve as a mean for politicians and propaganda.
Taking into account the growing impact in both public opinion and politics, the #stereotyping of #Muslims has created a negative influence
Muslims form the largest minority in India and yet when it comes to their portrayal they are either #mythified #stereotyped or #missing.
They are either the very bad guys or a good Vs bad lecturing into what Islam actually is. There is no portrayal of a “normal Muslim”
The movies of 1950-60s portrayed Muslims as royals or part of the fuedal culture. This was the era of MughaleAzam, Mere Mehboob, Bahu Begam, Chaudhvin Ka Chand.
The language was refined and the music soul touching, they depicted the rich cultural tradition of the #IndianMuslims.
As central characters, they testified that the nation accepted them as an integral part of the Indian society.
The reason wasMuslims of that time were a were a thriving community in India. However, as we move to seventies, a change in the characterization of the Muslims emerged.
The 70s Umrao Jaan, Pakeezah continued showing Muslims as aristocratic but given to sensual pleasures.
Nikah and Bazaar both focused on Muslims but there was clear attempt to show Muslims as “others” as different from Indian society
Growing secularism in the country meant that Amar Akbar Anthony were brothers overcoming communal problems with nothing short of a metaphorical connection between secular faith and secular nation
Muslim characters were soon reduced from 3 hour slots to 15 minutes. Muslim culture was reduced to mujras and qawaalis. They wore the Aligarh sherwanis and recited Ghalib and Iqbal, chewed paan, whereas the women were either the Zohrabais or ammis offering namaz for secular sons.
But even Rahim chacha- microcosm of secularism in India ready to sacrifice his sons for the nations soon disappeared and new decade had no place for a normal Muslim.
It brought an whole arsenal of ideas about Muslims and their religion. Islam means jehad, Muslim means terrorists
#Roja was the climactic film in the early 1990s that depicted the ideological conflict between the nationalist victim and the jihadi terrorist.
And from then on political agenda colored Bollywood, and the portrayal of the Muslim characters.
All villans were bearded, wore salwar-kameez with a ‘ muslim’scarf. They were shown with bloodshot eyes bursting at the seams with irrational anger. In contrast, the boss would be dressed a skull cap and a rosary in hand speak Arabic he would deliver the punch line about Jihad.
Just to earn profits, Bollywood started creating imaginary Muslims to a frightening level.
The audience was forced to share the heavily biased idea of the storyteller.
If Bollywood movies are to be believed, all Muslims are anti-national and their faith, an extremist ideology
This brings me to the last part of what i began with. The #MissingMuslims.
In Lagaan there was a small but outstanding character, Ismail. He retired hurt in the cricket field and then went on to play and in the end saves his team, to save his village, which symbolizes the India.
That guy is the disadvantaged Muslim. His story is to some extent the story of the Indian Muslim community as disadvantaged group. Though in a masala Bollywood film it is shown film with a metaphorical overtone and happy ending
In Rang De Basanti Aslam, is the stereotype of a good shayari speaking Muslim.
The film raises the question of minority insecurity and the ghetto mentality of a section of Muslims with communal underpinnings when Aslam not to make friends with people from gair communities
In the recently released Mulk the Indian commercial cinema watching audience becomes witness to the fear, insecurity, growing unease of the Muslim community, their conflicting fears and vulnerability. The film makes clear that Muslims are like any other family in India
From fuedal nostalgia to a terrorist the the prejudice has to be countered both within Bollywood and by us the cinema goers. The presupposed notions have to be done away with. Without having a dialogue, without knowing someone in person, people create an image of a community.
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