I have always wanted to write something about this for a long, long time. In fact, it was one of the first things that I wanted to discuss, since I started blogging. Since this forum and most of the discussions here, pertain to cinema, I would try to scope my article within the walls of cinema though talking about the topic in much broader sense.
The question in the title of the post is not for everyone. It is only for the people mentioned in the question itself. What is the Muslim perspective? What do you people think about the depiction of the Muslim community in Hindi movies? What about Hollywood? Do you think one is better than the other? What is it? I am not a Muslim and even though I can, but because of the nature of the topic, I won’t assume anything.
I have been seeing Hindi/English movies for many years now and even though it didn’t strike my mind earlier but since the last 10 years I have been paying a little more attention to the depiction of Muslim community in Indian or World Cinema. 9 out of 10 times, the sweaty vest clad butcher is That Rigid Muslim. If he’s not rigid, the he may be funny. There are fewer instances of a liberal Muslim who’s wearing that typical Muslim cap.
If it’s a terrorist movie, there’d be a shakeel, aslam, kareem, habib and a pathan. Now I have heard the famous (or infamous) saying “Every Muslim is not a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim” and so I do not want to know whether its correct or not- What I want to know is what is the Muslim perspective on such characters (or clichés) present in the movies? How do you feel when you notice a Shakeel, Aslam, or Kareem as a terrorist? It may be impacting or it may just be one more cliché for you, but I would like to know what you think about it.
Have you ever felt, that some particular character wasn’t necessary in the film, but present just because they wanted to have a Muslim character in the movie? What do you think about the tension between Hindus and Muslims shown in the movies? Do you think it’s unnecessary or do you think it’s underplayed or do you believe they are just exaggerating? What do you have to say to those Hindus who think that the Muslims in India are pro Pakistan?
Now I am a Hindu and I am not a very religious person. I believe in the teachings more than the teachers. I do not know what the perspective of an Islamic guy is. When they show, Muslim kids from Pakistan or Afghanistan on the barbaric inhuman side terrorizing people, or killing them and at the same time chanting Allah hu Akbar, does that bother you? It may seem like my article is forming a prejudiced tone, but let me assure you it’s not. I was at a dinner with some white folks who although unintentionally made fun of my religion. It did bother me for a second but when I thought about it again, I was fine and I thought its fine as it’s just for laughs and as if I haven’t had a little fun with them. That incident made me think about the Islamic devotees. What do you feel when time and again in cinema, A Muslim guy is ridiculed for his beard or a woman is pitied for the Burqa she wears?
A show like Satyamev Jayate talks about the problems in the country and the society. Would you mind if they talk about banning the Burqa citing freedom of choice combined with woman power as the reason. Would you think, it’s anyone’s right to interfere? When in a movie like OMG! Oh My god, Kanji bhai says “ Mazhab toh insaan ko sirf atankwadi bana sakta hai” (A religion can only make a man a terrorist) – how did you feel (that statement in the movie was only directed to the Muslim community). What do you think about the west and there opinion about the Middle East and the general Islamic community?
I have just one more thing to ask. This may be totally unwanted and I want you all to forgive me for asking such a question, but I have reason for asking this. Do you ever wish there were more Muslims in India? Do you think, in the world’s biggest community you’d have more freedom based on who has majority and minority?
This article is not meant to criticize or sympathize. Its only meant as a general enquiry. What is the Muslim Perspective?