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Bollywood’s monster: The Muslim socials

Published May 30, 2012 05:57am


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Irrespective of good or bad, we deserve the lives we live and similarly, we deserve our films too. Our times inspire our cinema and it is meant to depict the joys or trouble we endure. However, such is the power of the flickering image that for decades now, some things have become much more than imaginary. Bollywood is guilty of many myths. In its world, where a darkened room and three hours is all it takes to make the impossible come true, many myths have become half-truths. Many of them, like bulletproof vests being magical force-fields that can repel just about anything, are ridiculous but some are dangerous enough and have altered the way we look at things.

Considering the wholesome entertainment aspect of Hindi films, the lines dividing genres often blur but some escape this demarcation. If there were ever one genre that never lost its identity over the decades, it would have to be the ‘Muslim social.’ Bollywood’s Muslim socials started with Mehboob’s Najma (1943), a film that unknowingly ended up causing more harm than help to the very genre that it would create. The film laid great stress on the aspect of development, modern thought and education amongst the Muslim community but its celebration of Muslim etiquette and culture is what ended up filtering through. Close on Najma’s heels many films like Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Mere Mehboob (1963) and Bahu Begum (1967) enjoyed great success. There was always an element of a hidden social message in these films, but the greater the success this genre enjoyed, the further it went from the truth. The imagery would be filled with brilliant palaces; birds fluttering around the fountains in opulent gardens; the air would be filled with ittar and there would be poetry flowing from every possible outlet; the men would be only be seen in sherwanis enjoying only a sher more than a paan; the women would adorn burqas or costumes heavier than gold and there was nothing to be unhappy about. The films went on celebrate the whole nawabi culture along with the ghazals, qawwalis and sher-o-shayari to such an extent that it seemed the world depicted by these films wasn’t real.

Additionally, what worked against the Muslim socials and forced these films to exist in a parallel universe were the nuances. Regardless of the era these films depicted, everyone only said ‘Subhan Allah’ or ‘Masha'Allah’ and added a ‘Miyan’ to every sentence. If the 1950s and 1960s saw the genre showcase only the elite or upper class Muslim families, the 1970s paved the path for the so called ‘New-age Muslim socials’ with films like Dastak (1970) and Garam Hawa (1973). After reaching it’s zenith in Kamaal Amrohi’s Pakeezah (1972), the genre now moved out of the havelis and into the real world where Muslims were more than just well-dressed people who spoke beautifully. Dastak showed Hamid and Salma, a young couple, coming to terms with the daily trauma of knocks on their door that sought the previous occupant - a famous mujrewali and Garam Hawa explored the dilemma of the Mirza divided between continuing to stay back or moving to Pakistan post the partition. Films like Bazaar (1982), about the plight of young Muslim girls sold off by hard-pressed parents and Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989), about the aimlessness of lower-class urban Muslim youth would continue to carry on the genre but harm done by an entire generation of films before them couldn’t be undone. The nuances of yore had now transformed into stereotypes. B.R. Chopra’s Nikah (1982), replete with the lilting songs and charming moments, might have momentarily revived the genre but it gave a notion that most Muslim men just looked forward to saying Talak, Talak, Talak and carrying on with life.

Many a times perceptions are a result of convenience and the two together are extremely essential to fuel artistic liberty. A momentary relief from the trials of life is reason enough for an artist to destroy myths or create new ones. Javed Akhtar once famously noted that ‘the idea of Jehangir falling in love with her (Anarkali) and creating a rift between father and son is a story that was created by an Urdu playwright called Imtiaz Ali Taj.’ The writer creation isn’t a myth as big as the one that became a greater truth. Akbar couldn’t converse in Persian, which was the lingua franca during his time, but there is no way that a film like Mughal-e-Azam (1960) would have Akbar speak unlike the emperor he was. More importantly Urdu wasn’t developed at that time and Akbar having grown up in Northern India could very well be conversing in Haryanvi or Bhojpuri but to see Prithviraj Kapoor with that dialect would be unimaginable. If the world of Bollywood were to be believed, unless a Muslim speaks like a shayar there is no reason to make him a Muslim (Arbaaz Khan in Shootout at Lokhandwala); every South Indian must eat messily with their hands and for authenticity they must include curd in every thing (Shahrukh Khan in Ra.One), every Sardar must be over-the-top (Sunny Deol in half a dozen films), every Pathan must say 'wallah' the moment they open their mouth, every Parsi must be dim enough for the entire three minutes of their screen time. Here, at least Bollywood is able to maintain consistency.

Born a cinephile and a close observer of society, the author is an award-winning documentary filmmaker/writer. He is a regular contributor to leading Indian publications and is currently working on his first book. Find out more about him here and follow him @gchintamani

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Gautam Chintamani loves to closely observe society when not being devoured by Bollywood, politics and everything in between. Commissioned by Harper Collins, Gautam is presently working on a biography of Rajesh Khanna due to come out later this year. He tweets @GChintamani.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (89) Closed

Paki Jun 06, 2012 05:52pm
bro you got better ideas than the author...!....thumbs up..!
Kiran May 30, 2012 03:11pm
Actually the people with the most money in Bollywood are the Sindhis. Films like sholay was made by Ramesh Sippy a Sindhi, heroins like Saadhna, Babita (Karina Kapoor's mother) and Asrani and now Munna Bhai series made by Raj Kumar give us glimpse of the Sindhi hand in Bollywood, yet the Bollywood shows Sindhis in a the typical role of the kanjoos baniya even though most top philanthropic works around Mumbai are carried out by this community. They are the most rich class of Mumbai (but keep a low profile). In reality Hyderabadis are known for their diamonds around their necks, and running top notch hospitals and colleges
BRR May 30, 2012 03:55pm
Trying to make social commentary based on a woefully inadequate analysis of movies - anyone can pick and choose a collection of movies to make any point. If you want to show that Goans are stereotyped as drunks - go find 6 movies where that might be true. If you want to show that Sikhs are brave, go get 6 more of a different kind of movies and make a statement. Social commentary based on such selective collection of data is neither useful nor believable. No PhD here.
Anuj May 30, 2012 06:14am
stereotypes are a shorthand to distil a book worth reading over 350 pages and 3-4 days into a 1.5 hr movie. So, let it be, let it be, lety it be, let it be; whisper words of Bollywood wisdom; Let it Be Mr Chintamani ;-)
Gautam Chintamani May 30, 2012 07:31am
Hindi cinema and Bollywood, one of its biggest avatars, are a century old, which makes it a worthy place to search for some cliches...doesn't it?
pesty May 30, 2012 07:38am
cmon,,bollywood is buiness,,,we all have every kinda individuals ,,,first u want to see a come to age muslim on screen,,,but than u wil not see anything to recognize him or her other than the characters name,,,,when its all about dipicting the culture , u got to show values attached to it,,,,whats the fun of showing a muslim girl in bikni or a muslim boy in western casual drinking with frnd in a polished flat ,when later on u only would come out wth another article of how bad the cultures is shown...i have many frnd which are muslims but honestly,,in a group u can idintify which is muslim or a non muslim ,,thats the beauty ,,,,,
Taimur Khan May 30, 2012 07:49am
One cannot deny the rational content of the article, but the title is dripping with prejudice . Some great movies, lovely performances and lilting melodies have come out of this genre of films, the author chooses to call a monster! Do the films showcasing Hindu culture do complete justice to it?
@irfaniftekhar May 30, 2012 08:29am
Very well analyzed, very true.
Divya May 30, 2012 09:55am
Disappointing read and so not true!!! You have simply skipped films like Maqbool (2004), Kabul Express (2006), Dor (2006), Aamir (2008), Kurbaan (2009), Newyork (2009), My Name is Khan (2010), Mausam (2011), and many more! In fact, the list in endless! None of these films, have a "cliched" portrayal of Muslims, in fact, these are very urban, main stream characters. For eg. Aamir, has an excellent character sketch.
mangesh sird May 30, 2012 09:56am
it is basically meant for and targets the gullible...and hence immensely popular among the masses and down trodden to forget the real issues of roti/kapda/makaan....
Dinkar May 30, 2012 10:02am
You are right. Most of these films are made for entertainment and don't do complete justice to any culture. Viewing and trying to understand a culture using films is not correct.
Haroon May 30, 2012 10:15am
Dear Writer, Movies are there for entertainment, Watch it forget it, the majority of money are coming from the crowd that prefers Stereo Type movies, Cinema is a business dont forget.
Gautam Chintamani May 30, 2012 10:34am
Many of the films that you mentioned don't fall in the category which became popular as Muslim socials. The article looks at the genre that was once very popular but somehow couldn't keep up with the change in times. This change is what films like Aamir or Dor explore.
Bollywood critic May 30, 2012 11:30am
Thank you for this great article. In fact the whole Bollywood industry (same as Hollywood) tries to influence the culture and lifestyle of the audience - sad to say - but also in lovely Pakistan - I hope people will wake up from the fake images Bollywood is providing for decades- now infiltrating also into Hollywood movies (e.g.. Mission Impossible 4). In fact they show nothing but lies and absurd stories which are not only being used for 'entertainment', but also to manipulate the youth and morals of the society.
Saad A Khan May 30, 2012 11:31am
I would not completely agree with writers selection of movies and his views, but i would like to draw readers attention towards a trend in bollywood where most of gangsters and underworld dons shown as muslims.
mangesh sird May 30, 2012 11:38am
some more stereotypes ...... a sikh is always happy go lucky/funny/singing/dancing balle balle in bollywood parties.....;a catholic like Anthony in Amar Akbar Anthony is always a bewda...a drunkard..south Indian is always depicted as the heavily accented Hindi speaker...a marwari is always a cunning businessman......a Hindu pandit/priest is always made a fun of..but never never bollywood DARES to depict a Muslim/Christian/any other religious priest in bad light or as a joker...mostly the talaqs/lack of education/poverty in Muslims/terrorism/ anti-Indianism/prostituting/selling of poor women is an anathema/sacrilege ...not shown.....a Punjabi or a Bengali is mostly NOT shown in bad most producers come from these two communities...hero beats the pulp out of a dozen or more bad guys...heroine is always v attractive and voluptious/scarcely dressed ..unlike actual girls...hero/heroine are always expert singers/dancers/fighters/ pilots/drivers/and what reality ever touches the bollywood movies with a pole vault pole.....its basically for those who want to dream....
pakinema2 May 30, 2012 11:48am
The writer does a commendable task of showcasing a marginalized Indian film genre. The observation is sensitive and objective. Pakistani cinema once had its own share of Muslim Social films that were little more than morality or reactionary tales and bypassed the socio economic real life variables of the immigrant class. A well articulated piece.
Muntazir Qaimi May 30, 2012 12:00pm
In Bollywood Muslim characters generally projected as stereotype Muslim. Mostly they are dressed up in kurta payjama, Shalwar Kameez and a skull cap with a Palestinian zebra type scarf on shoulder which Late Yasar Arafat put on. Cinema projects Identical codification of a Muslim character while it talks about a Muslim role. I think it represent Muslim normal as Hindu or other religious faith people.
Kamath May 30, 2012 12:33pm
You are right when you say,"..its basically for those who want to dream...." I would say it is for those who want an escapism.
MBN May 30, 2012 12:58pm
You obviously haven't seen enough independent, small scale or region-specific cinema. There are some GREAT indian movies aside from the slop of mainstream bollywood that are a joy to watch for their accurate portrayal of subcontinental culture.
Habib May 30, 2012 01:02pm
Oh and there is that Muslim background music that has to be played when the characters are dishing out their "SubhanAllah"s and "Mashallah"s. Actually, on econundrum is that when Muslims are shown in their "Sherwani" and "shairana" speaking style, we say they are being streotyped but when Muslims are shown drinking like fish and adulterating, we question why Muslims have to be shown in such bad light. I think we need to stop making and seeing cinema from teh angle of race and religion.
kdspirited May 30, 2012 01:06pm
Mainstream cinema such as Bollywood or Hollywood seldom depicts reality or truth in their medium. It is often left as a topic for alternative cinema such as independent films or in Pakitans case TV dramas and now most recently alternative cinema with the likes of Shoaib mansoor movies. Iran has been a big advocate of quality alternative cinema for decades and it shows that there is a market for socio political movie making. But when all is said and done we as people want to escape reality and pretend for 2-3 hours that the latka jhatkas in bollywood movies are our world.
kafir May 30, 2012 01:13pm
But is that not true?? Dawood brothers, Chotta Shakeel, Abu Salem's, Memons are they Hindus? Osama, al zawahiri and all other terrorists, what are their religion?? don't make a fool of yourself! the entire world knows that!
Amarnath May 30, 2012 01:28pm
one of the hidden stereotypes that is not very obvious yet very pervasive in Bollywood ...... heroins hardy have a significant role in the movies. They are meant for ornating purposes. Most of the movies revolve around the character of heroes. There are exceptions, like Fasion (Priyanka Chopra) or a movie here and there. I just wonder how could the author miss mentioning this shortcoming of Bollywood, given that half of the population is subject to this prejudice by Bollywood.
M. Islam May 30, 2012 01:30pm
i totally agree with the author that these 'Muslim social films' are so predictable. They show a certain culture that only existed in UP about 60-70 years ago. Plus they need to show contemporary Muslim society who along with the rest of the world is at a crossroad of change and social upheaval along with changing norms and values. Muslims of south Asia are not stagnant. They too are evolving and their women no longer wear burqas and act coy saying 'Hai Allah"!
Kohli May 30, 2012 01:49pm
Totally agree with you. It's a business and they show what sells. What else could explain the scantily clad item number dancers. Do you think you could find girls gyrating like this in restaurants? On the same note, there have been films with muslim characters that are so real to everyday life. You forgot my favorite movie 'Tehzeeb'
Saim May 30, 2012 02:12pm
A movie goer sits in a dark back groud for three hours or better in case of some indian movies. He or she subjects themselves to this surrounding because they want to get away from what they have in their daily life, agony, pain suffering, no electricity, no water, no proper food to eat. They do wish to be in a fantasy world because their real world has very little to offer them as far as entertainment is concerned. These super heros, these scantily clad heroines, these dancers, comedians and entertainers become their real world for a few hours. Let them live their lives and atleast get away from it all for a little while.
Shama Qureshi May 30, 2012 02:25pm
This is not far from the reality of Mumbai underworld.
Rob May 30, 2012 02:59pm
As someone from the South India, I totally echo Mangesh's observations. All these films may be "great", but they are totally irrelevant to me and they take up "my" space. I can understand if those on the other side don't "get it".
Vish May 30, 2012 03:33pm
What's the point of this article.? Who makes so called 'Muslim socials' nowadays?
errorwithrequest May 30, 2012 04:36pm
To add more to the article, Hardly any Bollywood song made these days without Maula/Khuda/Ali etc words. One can clearly make out that the words are being intruded intentionally. Apart from that in the veil of Hindi, all the Urdu/Arbi/Farsi words are playing a major source in destroying the regional languages and a threat to the Culture.
shirin May 30, 2012 05:37pm
you are clearly racist to the core. An OBL who allegedly killed 3000, and was later assasinated by a governmen's orders, is a terrorist and governments who in retaliation waged wars that brought multiple nations to their knees and resulted in massacre of hundreds of thousands, millions homeless, is not a terrorist?? That is the reality. Don't make a fool of yourself. The entire world sees facts as is.
Jawwad May 30, 2012 05:50pm
Do you mean to say the world had no dons, gundas, exploiters, looters, cheaters before the Muslims came? You ought to get your money back from the school you graduated. Seriously!
Gautham May 30, 2012 06:13pm
Same feelings here, albeit about Telugu (aka tollywood, based in Hyderabad) cinema. All villains and their chelas speak a distinct dialect of Telugu (of Telangana region). Good thing is, Telugu cinema is atleast secular! No distinction between hindus/muslims for villain role - only regional bias!
Ali May 30, 2012 06:18pm
magesh Sird- you watched a few Bollywood movies and call yourself an expert. Check Divya comments for more details
Amit-Atlanta-USA May 30, 2012 06:24pm
Actually "My Name is Khan" in fact goes much farther, mischevously suggesting that Americans viewed ALL minorities (specifically S.Asians) as terrorists. I am US citizen and can say this. While there surely have been mistaken identities when Sikhs (with their characteristic turbans), and Hindus by their skin color have been confused to be Muslims and profiled, but once Americans realize that we are not Muslims the terror suspect label disappeared. So, it's a fact that while all Muslims are NOT profiled as terrorists, many Muslims are indeed viewed as terrorist sympathizers and their associations reviewed. This is not unusual as Dawn reported that even Japan profiled 98% of Muslims and as also other Japanese associated with Muslims. (Ref: story Titled "Muslims in Japan sue over anti-terror probe Dawn May 16th 2011). While this is unfortunate, it can end if the Muslim community were more forthcoming.
Amit-Atlanta-USA May 30, 2012 06:25pm
Part 2 Likewise, recently there was an article in Dawn on Dilip Kumar doubting whether he would have been as successful had he not changed to a Hindu name. While that may have been true during those days when people's memory was still fresh with the partition excesses, it's probably the opposite today with a Muslim name like Khan, or Hashmi or any other, positioning them for a greater chance for success & acceptance.
Kohli May 30, 2012 08:31pm
No one is forcing anyone to go buy a ticket and see a bolly film. No one is forcing anyone to watch a pirated VCD or DVD of a bolly film. People do it because they like it. If you don't enjoy them - don't watch them. No one is forcing you. However, from your comments it looks like you know enough about their content and are a frequent movie goer.
Simon May 30, 2012 09:55pm
Go see any Bollywoood/Hollywood film and when you come out of the theater, just forget the whole thing; you just spent your money for 3 hours of phantasy ; you forget your real worries during this period. Please do not analyze it for artistic values. You are looking for a needle in a haystack.
Shubs Jun 01, 2012 09:21am
I agree with Ram. It's fashionable to compare actors from different schools of film-making and even from different generations of films, but it is an excercise in fultility. You will not compare Chinese opera actors with Kathakali dancers, even if they were telling the same story. A moving story interspersed with songs will appear ludicrous to an audience used to Western cinema, but will appeal to an Indian audience. It's not because Indian viewers are dumb. It's just another school of movie appreciation. I think people jump to dissing Hindi movies because the majority of movies made do not appeal to the intellect to either school of viewers. Sometimes an work of art can just be BAD to anybody viewing it.
R. Albuquerque May 31, 2012 12:19am
A good movie besides being enjoyable to watch also makes you think. Makes you wonder and debate the significance of it all. It can be an eye opener or a challenger of your own views and perceptions. American movies such as " In the heat of the night" or "guess who is coming for dinner" were powerful and enjoyable movies in the education of the American Public. It's a great pity that some movies are just aimed at the box office & profits!
saeed May 31, 2012 12:34am
Most of my friends in Toronto call it galiwood instead of bollywood because of anti Pakistan and anti Muslim approach in Indian movies. Having said that, although most indian movies are copies of other foreign movies, original work in some movies is excellent and indian music is ever stronger. Cinematography in indian movies have improved greatly. Overall it’s a vibrant industry and very good propaganda tool for india.
NASAH (USA) May 31, 2012 01:17am
The "Muslim social" in most cases are antiquated Nawabs -- an their archaic culture of formalities of the past feudal era -- in apparel and in customs -- unfortunately or fortunately there are no more Nawabs among us -- so it is hard for us Muslims to relate with a Muslim social made in Bollywood or in Pakistan.
Akil Akhtar May 31, 2012 01:44am
Among more than 800 million hindus there are no criminals or gansters that Bollywood is overwhelmingly dominated by Muslims as the bad guy, give us a break... get rid of your own bias first before calling others fool.
sagecaptial May 31, 2012 02:05am
They have to make films that get sold like you have to write articles that will get printed
Duniya Bhar May 31, 2012 03:25am
whats up with Pakis dissing indian movies? True they arent always top notch but to a desi soul its the elixir. They are called movies and not documentatries. Your dicing of a 100 year tradition is fine but not everyone would agree to it
Fazal Saeed May 31, 2012 03:51am
In hollywood the muslim or Arab characters are always villains, the new trend of movies in US, India or even in Paksitan portray the terrorists as muslims. A terrorist must be muslim otherwise it will catch no attention. Where is the positive side of our society...
dr vimal raina May 31, 2012 03:54am
I believe that 'Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro' was a movie that showed more of the Muslim social fabric in the present context. Wish you should not have omitted it.
sanjeev May 31, 2012 05:08am
they're filled with masala....nothing real mostly
B.Ally May 31, 2012 05:20am
Films reflect society in which we live. The glamour in them is to make money.The basic truth remains same which we confront in our daily life. Some time truth is true bitter to swallow so it is sugar coated in songs,music and dance.The real message behind this glamour remains stark which can not be denied.
amit May 31, 2012 06:04am
Brilliantly written.
prafulla shrivastva May 31, 2012 07:13am
Dear Haroon, I strongly agree with you. If you refer history of cinema you can find out producer makes only those movies which attract audience & money they are least bothered with culture & traditions. Of course some movies can not be included in this categories, " BOL" " Khuda Ke Liye" like movies are classical example. Similarly " Pakizah" made by Kamal Amrohi was different as it has cast of Meena Kumari & she was encased with her background as she suffered a lot & saw only exploitation either by her parent or by her husband.
vijay May 31, 2012 08:19am
Cinema is for entertainment only. We want films which entertain "us" for the money spent and not for some directors artistic films which may be satisfying for him only. We do not want "our" money to be spent to see some movie and come out crying and the whole day going for a six.
VJS May 31, 2012 09:44am
OK, if thats the case who was shown as terrorists/bad people in Khuda ke Liye and Bol - films from your own land?
vijay May 31, 2012 11:34am
@Mr. Ally Yes. Films do reflect. my question is why should I see something which I come face to face day in and day out? Rather I would prefer a film which is far from all that I see in my normal life which makes my day.
vijay May 31, 2012 12:07pm
@Ally To see the society in which we live, I would suggest you to watch BR Chopras Mahabharat. It has shrewdness(Krishna) cunning(Duryodhan) Dosti(Duryodhana-Karna),Kusti(duryodhana-Bhima) slavery(draupadi),revenge(again draupadi)gambling(between kaurava-Pandava)Maa ka Pyar(gandhari-Kunti) bravery(karna)untouchability(drona-ekalavya)missiles(agni-nag),loyalty(Bhisma)secrecy(agnyatavasa of pandavas) morality(vidura), songs(Mahendrakapoor), screen story-rahi massoom by rajkamal. Sorry there are no item nos.
Neeraj Nanda May 31, 2012 01:13pm
And what about 'Aasman Mahal' directed by K. A. Abbas, where the Nawab's (Prithviraj Kapoor) son becomes a motor mechanic. The nawab is in decline but cannot come to terms with Independent India and the loss of Nawabi. He keeps on searching for a hidden treasure in the haveli amidst the noise of the nearby car Garage where his son works as a car mechanic. The movie had no muslim stereotypes mentioned by the author. Worth seeing.
P N Eswaran May 31, 2012 01:35pm
There is a mojor shift in Bollywood in the depiction of Muslims. Upto to the late 1980's, Muslims were depicted as law abiding and patriotic Indians. But after the serial Bombay blasts followed by several Islamic terrorists attacks in the following years the trend from the 1990's shows Muslims as gangsters, terror accomplice and terrorists. The Muslims in India have always been laden with partition guilt to which has been added the guilt of terrorism. The Bollywood has been realistic at least on this count to correctly depict the non Muslim perception of Muslims.
Hariharan.S May 31, 2012 04:07pm
Stereotyping exists in every place of the society....and Cinema is just a extension of society.... I dont know why author is looking only at bollywood movies.Lets take Hollywood movies.. 1.In a horror movie,a black guy will be friends with main character and talks crude language and one of the 1st one to die 2.All German officers are built like a wrestler with a totally menacing look on the face. 3.Any Chinese guy or girl shown in the film is an accomplished martial arts expert who will reveal it only at critical times. 4.There are only ONE kind of Muslims according to Hollywood-BEARDED TERRORISTS. 5.Quite recently,they feature indians...They are all nerds. 6.Anyone speaking in Russian accent is a spy. 7.Big bosomed blondes always plot against the heroine of the film.
Dr. D. Prithipaul May 31, 2012 06:38pm
Bollywood makes films. It does not produce Cinema Art. The rare exceptions would be Pather Panchali, Jalsa Ghar of Satyajit Rai. Compared with the likes of actors like Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier, Burt Lancaster, Marlon Brando, Pierre Brasseur, Jean Louis Barreau, Raimu, Toshiro Mifune, Bacchan or Shah Ruk Khan - referred to as legends, or kings in the Indian media - are just so-so actors. Bollywood is anti-intellectual, It has no literary worth. It even has a low idea of entertainment. It thrives in a captive market. The author may ponder on this: the book on the effect of Partition and of Muslim League politics on the film world of Bombay and Calcutta has not yet been written. In particular the lives of those who left for pakistan and for East Pakistan. A chapter on the burning of the New Theatres studio would make interesting reading.
Imran Jun 01, 2012 03:39am
every society have evils.
saeed May 31, 2012 07:20pm
My parents migrated from India, I got good education in Pakistan (M. S and MBA) got good job and later migrated to Canada. During my 15 years of work in many IT shops of US and Canada, I met lot of Pakistanies and Indians but I have yet to meet an indian muslim in IT. If my parents had stayed in India, I would have been blamed for not working hard and involved in bombay underworld.
Shams May 31, 2012 08:07pm
Simon, Movies in modern days are a medium to shape public opinion for an issue, people, religion...etc. Hollywood is effectively used to sterotype and villify Muslims and Arabs by some to shape skew public opinion in one direction and no one can deny it. Same is true for the words being introduced in media and films to depits certain people. Murderer is a Muslim, he is a Terrorist here in western world but the the person is Mass murderer if it is committed by a non-mulim like the one in Sweden recently. Muslims men are portrayed as abusive husbands while USA news papers are full of stories of abusive husbands all over...........Please do ot take movies that impacts your mind after a while.
Maanav May 31, 2012 09:50pm
All you can think is propaganda!? How about entertainment for good measure? How about education - Tare Zameen per, 3 idiots? Overall you are mistaken!
Maanav May 31, 2012 09:55pm
Indian Muslim in IT - think Wipro dude!!! and Sadly - for most of our muslim brethren, its mostly gulf or America...dont think Canada stands a chance in Indian muslim psych. Dont ask me why!
kumar May 31, 2012 10:52pm
VJS- Read before you comment.Fazal said "or even Pakistan".You always ready to jump the gun to critisize....Cool down buddy.
August May 31, 2012 10:59pm
What cr*p....In my team itself I have 5 Muslims from India....I am a chritian btw ....what has muslims in IT got to do with Indian Muslims not doing well.They become cricket team captains(azar),president of the country(Mr Kalam), richest indians(Azim premji),all bollywood superstars.Plz dont even get me started on this On other hand we all know how you treat your minorities.Success comes from personal hard work in India and not from religion
Anuj Jun 01, 2012 10:54am
true, but Telugu movies are just cheap Tamil copies.
Neeraj Nanda Jun 01, 2012 01:23am
I have many Muslim IT professionals from India in Melbourne, Australia.
shrirang Jun 01, 2012 03:04am
Sahi kaha bhai,
Pramod Jun 01, 2012 04:04am
So probably you have never heard of Azim Premjee who is the richest Muslim in the world outside oil sheikhs, who made his fortune from IT
Shiva Jun 01, 2012 04:49am
The only thing that probably comes close to "realism" in Bollywood films is the depiction of local goons and gangs being used by corrupt politicians .....or the police using their powers in favor of the rich against the weak and suppressed aam all is rubbish!!
singh (australia) Jun 01, 2012 05:00am
Bollywood owes almost everything to the Muslims hero/heroines actor/actresses of black & white and color cinema. How come the author forgot the legendry characters of Kabuliwala (played by Balraj Sahni in movie Kabuliwala), Halakoo Khan( Played by Pran), Rustam-e- Soharab( played by Prithiviraj Kapoor and Prem Nath), Sher Khan (played by Pran in Zanzeer)...the list is endless. In those black and white times the Pathan's character was always shown as brave and pivotal, quite often played by greats Jayant (Amjad Khan's father) or Jeevan or Pran. All the greatest hero/ heroines were Muslims ( Meena Kumari, Madhu Bala, Vijayanti Mala, Saira Baano, Dilip Kumar, Feroz Khan, Sanjay Khan, Jayant, Ajit Khan, Waheeda Rehman, Surayia (?).... ) And in today's time also the Bollywood is ruled by Khans (Shahrukh, Salman, Sail Ali khan).
Navid Khan Jun 01, 2012 05:26am
Mangesh ver well said. Indian cinema has never been realistic. They're not succesfull in perpectly portraying their culture.
ram Jun 01, 2012 06:44am
Sir, Bollywood these days is coming with some good stuff. This is a recent phenomemon. Your comparison of western actors with bollywood is misplaced. Actors should be seen only in their cultural context.
pesty Jun 01, 2012 07:10am
cmon,,bollywood is buiness,,,we all have every kinda individuals ,,,first u want to see a come to age muslim on screen,,,but than u wil not see anything to recognize him or her other than the characters name,,,,when its all about dipicting the culture , u got to show values attached to it,,,,whats the fun of showing a muslim girl in bikni or a muslim boy in western casual drinking with frnd in a polished flat , later on u only would come out wth another article of how bad the cultures is shown...i have many muslim frnds but honestly,,in a group u can not identify who is is muslim or a non muslim ,,THATS THE BEAUTY BEING A HUMAN FIRST...
Shubs Jun 01, 2012 09:26am
A word of advice, if I may. Always ensure there is a gap between a thought and the effort to put it in writing, just so that you can introspect and not make a fool of yourself. The writer is Gautam Chintamani, an Indian writer/filmmaker based out of Gurgaon.
Pappu Jun 01, 2012 10:25am
Some stereotypes - kaamwali bai is always marathi. rich families / business owners are khanna/ kapoor/ khurana hero is raj/ rahul/ karan heroine is nisha/ priya a hero or heroine will never belong to states like orissa, nagaland, mizoram, manipur etc.
Nitin - Pune Jun 01, 2012 10:30am
Man! So many Indians read Dawn. I am from India and have been reading Dawn for several years now. Good writers and good articles. 'Muslim social' as shown in many old movies probably is a dead genre now. WHo would want to watch a Sherwani clad guy who rambles about love in chaste Urdu that no Muslim will understand without ENglish/Hindi Subtitles?
Nitin - Pune Jun 01, 2012 10:42am
I am sure you are telling the truth. However, while working with RBC and CIBC in Toronto, I have met quite a few of Indian Muslims in IT. If you are in IT, just check the directory and find out the guy who works for an Indian IT company. Then check who works for him and who works for his boss and you will find fair number of Indian Muslims. Actually, largest number of Indian immigrants to Canada are Punjabis but you won't find very many Sikhs in IT...simply because they don't go on work permits thru IT companies. ---------------- Having said all that, I don't think that Indian IT industry truly represents India. Most IT guys are from urban India, with fairly well-to-do and well-informed parents and good role models. I hope India goes ahead and everybody gets equal opportunity. Irrespective of religion and gender and state and language.
Nitin - Pune Jun 01, 2012 10:46am
You might want to watch at least 300 movies and then collect data and see for yourself.
Rahul Jun 01, 2012 12:22pm
"Satya" and "Vastav" are two of the most successful gangster movies of Bollywood. The leading Gangsters in both the movies were Hindus. Don't make fool of yourself and see the reality. It is true that from 70's to 90's underworld in India was ruled by Muslims Dons.
Jam Jun 01, 2012 01:28pm
Most of the Indian movies released for the last 20 years are anti-Muslims either they show (a) how Muslims are treating Hindus so badly like Kala Pani (b) cheating Hindu women (c) gundas and criminals (d) spoiled people (f) some chamchas (poor comedians) (g) treating their Muslims women so badly (h) tyrants etc. They do not project Muslims like they projected a Muslim in the movie Solay. The sad part is the Pakistanis love Indian movies and I have seen they cannot live without these movies. If that was the case then why they wanted to a separate country. I think the civilized people should ask the Bollywood to stop these stereotype anti-Muslim movies because it is hurting the basic foundation of our unity in India.
Abhinav Jun 01, 2012 02:17pm
Vaijanti Mala was not muslim, she is a tamil brahmin.
Abhinav Jun 01, 2012 02:27pm
Azim Premji, owner of one of the biggest IT companies in India i.e. WIPRO, is a muslim. If your parents would had stayed in India you might have become another Premji, now you would probably write code for the rest of your life.
Mohammad A. Wahab (Pakistan) Jun 01, 2012 03:14pm
Well I felt very happy to see that Dawn has so good outreach in India and throughout the world. I fully agree with the writer that Bollywood inappropriately associated in permanently allotting certain expressions to certain communities which were divorced from reality. At the same time, apart from Art or Family movies, most of the Bollywood films have been responsible for promoting and propagating obscenity and shamelessness which even liberal Hindu brothers in India find very difficult to digest. Indian drama otherwise promotes family and cultural values whereas movies while crossing all limits of showing semi naked women, free and extra marital sex, flirt as the first motive of every youth have only introduced sexual corruption and sexual lawlessness in both Indian and Pakistani societies as their outreach is same on both sides of border. Taray Zameen Pur, Three Idiots, etc. type movies give impetus to a society to rethink and realign its outdated concepts but what message could be given by Houseful Two or Rowdy Rathore, etc. except entertainment which only brings sexual chaos and frustration in a society whether that be a dominant Hindu, Muslim or a Christian society.
sunil mehta Jun 01, 2012 06:05pm
agreed Hero will represent UP o r Punjabi and heroine will be from bengalie or UP or punjabii reference. No gujarti relation will ever be shown for instance.
Ebad Jun 02, 2012 05:43pm
Hi Saeed, I am a Muslim ,I work for the biggest IT company in India and I am an Indian and i know few muslims who are Indian and who are in canada in an IT company.and there must be hordes of them.So just get your facts right before saying these things. Thank you.
kitto Jun 02, 2012 06:56pm
why the muslim socials of pakistan never came up with nice and good movies like indian social muslims....