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?
A comment i made on CDI climax pertaining to this topic:
CDI ironically reinforces all the prejudices against a Muslim in India. (especially the way it ends).Will elaborate if required.
i dislike the larger point in the film which i have said elsehwere and which is why i was not very impressed with the climax (the scene where the sikh boy rubs off the “gaddar” word written on the wall of srks house).The way the vindication of a muslim is shown in the climax.Its wrong and i dont agree with it. It reinforces all the societal prejudices.thats where i think CDI failed ,if i may say so.
tshimit could have shown the media and indian ppl in full support of srk once they qualify for the semis.Why must srks traitor tag be removed only if he wins the WC? he had already proved himself by then. The concept is similar to those 80s films where a muslim inspector also has to die in the film even if he is honest.Just being honest is not sufficient perhaps.There has to be a ‘sacrifice’!
Suprabh, I want to comment on your article by being just a human/Indian and not a Muslim. As you have mentioned in the article that you would like to know how the Muslims are depicted in the movies. Film makers generally depict Muslims in their movie as a character who is either very conservative or someone who is very poor or underestimated by other characters of the movie. A few of the Muslims here or there must be like that and I am sure such kind of people are there in every community. Just because a few Muslims wrongdoers, they think each and every Muslim is wrong and I again repeat such kind of people will be there in every community. And even the infamous saying of “Not every Muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim” has been depicted largely by those groups (I dont want to mention the names) who themselves are biggest terrorists and spread terror in the name of patriotism. No religion teaches you terrorism or hatred (including Islam) and if at all any person (of any religion) follows it, then he is totally blamed for it and not the religion. Film makers just highlight the negative image of them and try to ignore the positive side. They want to earn quick buck with just the thought “jo dikhta hain woh bikta hain”. As for Paresh Rawal mouthing that dialogue in OMG, I feel that though he is wrong, you (Suprabh) can’t pin point about that to only Muslims/Islam. And even more he says that dialogue in the movie when he is a a non believer of God. So now, you can make it out that the people who bad mouth about Muslims don’t know the actual facts about them and becomes quiet/silent when faced the reality/truth and feels themselves guilty about it. And yes you cant say it for sure that the dialogue he was saying was referred only to Muslims. This is where your (Suprabh) and other people problem lies and you must try to correct yourself. Don’t believe what you read and watch in movies. The fact and reality is far from what they show and depict it in movies.
And yes, ready today’s new Suprabh, you will find a new group of terrorist and their terrorists. Now you can make it out whom to depict bad in the movies. And they are making an open challenge of spreading terrorism… now it is up to you whom to believe and not….
P.S.: Believe me I am not against any religion/community/group, I have expressed my opinions, views and facts as just being an Indian… Hope it strikes the right chord with the readers….
hmm… Using your SDM argument the Muslim perspective should be that the Westerners and people of other religions are portraying Muslims in bad light or are doing this with malicious intentions 😉
Now I seriously don’t know what the Muslim perspective is. I have not seen any widespread protests by Muslims on how they are being depicted in Bollywood/Hollywood movies or may be I am not watching/reading enough news 😉 I don’t think the average Muslim thinks about this so much. And anyways Muslims are not some monolithic group who all think the same. It depends on person to person.
Now coming to depiction of Muslims in Hollywood movies. Hollywood used to have the bad Russians during Cold War and its understandable that they now will have bad Muslims after 9/11 but it again depends on the movie. Its completely ok if ZDT, Hurt Locker, Black Hawk Down have Muslim characters as terrorists. Hurt Locker had a innocent Muslim too with that suicide bomb or the little kid. I think Kingdom of Heaven showed Saladin as a good guy. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen showed the Muslim King as a good guy. Syriana had good Muslim characters too if I remember correctly. SDM itself had Salim who was a good guy 😉
I watched The Tears of the Sun a couple of days back and I read on wiki that the novel actually had terrorist Muslims as villains but were replaced in the movie by a crazy German. Movie released in 2002 but wiki says that movie was shot before 9/11 and changes were made because it was considered implausible and because of the movie True Lies.
Now coming to Bollywood movies there are movies which have Muslim terrorists but they usually have them as Pakistanis. There are movies which have Muslims as terrorists but they are usually wrongfully accused or misguided who become good at end (Mission Kashmir) but then the good guy (Sanjay) is also Muslim.
“There are fewer instances of a liberal Muslim who’s wearing that typical Muslim cap.”
hmm… may be its Bollywood thinking that the typical Muslim cap and being liberal does not go together. And may be MNIK is the only movie which has SRK with the Muslim cap but also as a good guy or liberal.
There are Muslim characters like Farhan’s in ZNMD but some can argue that he is a Muslim for just name sake. At no point he is shown praying or behaving or doing anything remotely related to being a Muslim. One can argue that he does not fit the Muslim stereotype which is a good thing but others can argue that a good Muslim has to be totally non Muslim in a movie. Same can be said with Madhavan’s character from 3 Idiots. But again why generalize/associate behavior of one character to all Muslims?
In RDB for example Kunal Kapoor’s character is that of a good liberal Muslim but his family is again bad or scared/suspicious of Hindus. But then the movie also has a party which is similar to BJP and Atul Kulkarni’s character is that of a bad Hindu at least initially.
CDI and even Khakee have a good Muslim though they are vilified for being Muslim initially. A Wednesday had Muslim terrorists but it also balanced with Jimmy Sheirgill’s character being Muslim. I liked that scene where the guy is trying to get Jimmy on his side using the same religion argument.
“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?”
Yes there are many movies from 70s and 80s where have stock Muslim characters. These guys are usually wearing that typical “Muslim cap” and praying or singing some qawalli but they are patriotic and usually die for the country – characters added to target the Muslims.
“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?”
Again depends on the movie. MMJ had Kay Kay Memon being suspicious of a Muslim but then he becomes good at end because he went to Sai Baba and brought Prasad at the end.
Growing up in the 80s and 90s there were some Muslims in India who supported Pakistan at least during Cricket matches. Now I never heard them say they will support Pakistan in Ind vs Pak war though. I started watching cricket matches at my neighbor’s house and this was a large Muslim family and they all supported India during Ind vs Pak matches. Now I knew another neighbors and they were more educated/liberal than the first one but they supported Pakistan during Ind vs Pak matches. And if you think they were Hindu hating they were all big fans of Amitabh Bachchan. I have seen kids from same family where one would support India and another would support Pakistan and they would fight over Ind Pak matches.
I have also seen Muslims who used to feel proud when Azhar played well for India or won matches for India. I think they used to think of Azhar as representative of them.
“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?”
Why should it bother someone unless they are that person.
“A Muslim guy is ridiculed for his beard or a woman is pitied for the Burqa she wears?”
Which movie did that?
OMG bashed Hinduism a lot and I still think they were a bit cautious with Muslims. They added the good Muslim lawyer;-) They did not want to seen only as Hindu bashing so they put in some Muslim bashing too.
Some women like to wear the Burkha (even though this may seem unbelievable) so banning Burkha is also infringing on another person’s freedom of choice.
Well we did not have strong leaders like Lincoln who had a civil war but kept the country united. If there was no partition I am not saying it would have all been all hunky dory but we would not have many of the problems we face with Pakistan today.
Thanks for commenting. I think you somewhat misunderstood the article, but thats alright. I do get your perspective from your response and I liked whatever you said.
I didnt think of the SDM logic, but who knows maybe people do get offended and thats why I asked for their perspective.
Thanks for your response. I really liked it and moreso because you are in a relatively better position to answer those questions since as a non-muslim I can only assume (and I chose not too). i liked this line especially (I knew it but it felt good coming from someone else)
“And anyways Muslims are not some monolithic group who all think the same. It depends on person to person.”
great point there..even I felt the embracing a muslim only after the win was sort of wrong but I overlooked it because I took it only as a sports movie.
May be this article will interest you. I skimmed through it and don’t agree with the article – there is some defensive mindset and victim mentality.
“Kazmi rightly points out that the Director, J.P.Dutta in Border showed “no patriotic Muslim soldiers in the Indian Army fighting thelegendary 5-6 December 1971 battle of Longewala, upon which the film issupposedly based” (Kazmi, 1999, p. 12). Sarfarosh on the other hand, is unique for anumber of reasons.
Sarfarosh on the other hand, is unique for anumber of reasons.As Rakesh Gupta points out, “First, the film names Pakistan to be an enemyinvolved in cross-border terrorism. No other film had named Pakistan before. Eversince [then], Pakistan is now named in many commercial films, e.g., in Gadar, The Hero—Love Story of a Spy— both have Sunny Deol as the main protagonist. This is thereflection of the NDA government’s new radical thrust in dealing with Pakistan.Second, the protagonist, a police officer, Aamir Khan, mouths the dialogue that hedoes not need any Salim to defend his house. A former Prime Minister of India isreported to have said in an election campaign that his party does not need the vote of Muslims. The film is a part of the dominant political view of the problem of terrorism, as Pakistan-centric” (Gupta, 2004, p. 242)”
And here is a response to that interview.
WOW!!! That’s some anger vomit!!
P.S. just out of curiosity- Might I be termed a hater (Srk’s obviously) if I said that my facial condition while reading that article could be best described as ” As if I had a hanger in my mouth” ???
And here is the article that SRK wrote.
I am not sure what is the point of writing this? Any Muslim in US (or even US non-Muslim citizen) gets similar treatment at hands of TSA. As far as ShivSena,there are always peope who hate you. No one is Loved by all. Even Sonia Gandhi is not spared. So if you are celebrity you will get both bouquet and bricks. SRK is a privileged that he could call someone and who took care of his issues. A normal person has no such avenues.
As a responsible citizen you should understand where are you speaking. My problem with likes of Arundhati Roy is not that she has some position which is against the grain but she goes to world forums and use her celebrity position and belittle the country. I know my country problems, I don’t need another mirror to see the issues.
More than the point of writing the article I am not sure why he has to write about this now when he has said similar things in various interviews before and had run into problems before.
Before twitter SRK was surrounded by sycophants who made him believe that everyone loves him. Once he got on twitter he realized that many hate him.
Now a few may hate him because of his religion but most people hate him because they think he is a mediocre/pathetic actor who got more than his deserved share of acclaim/awards/success. Some may hate him because their favorite actor is another star.
But as you said “No one is Loved by all.” and people will criticize no matter what you say/do just like in the Aesop Fable “The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey.”
Instead of doing what he did at the Wankhede stadium or constantly saying someone asked me to go to Pakistan why not just make a statement once and for all “I am an Indian and no other Indian has a right to question my patriotism or to tell me to go to some place because they belong to the majority religion” and move on.
Anyways people worship success – the rising Sun. As they say in Cricket “let the bat do the talking” so he needs to do good movies and give good performances and if these become critically acclaimed and popular hits his haters will themselves stop.
Shah Rukh Khan’s statement on controversy over his article
Actor Shah Rukh Khan today issued a media statement over the raging controversy around a article he wrote for a magazine.
Read Mr Khan’s statement below:
According to me, all our lives we are defined by three identities.
Two of which are fortunately acquired by birth and are a matter of unconditional love and acceptance.
The first identity is acquired by where one is born. Our Motherland. That defines us. So foremost all of us here like me are proud Indians.
Second the family name and upbringing that our parents give us. Mine is Khan, like some of us here. I am very proud of my parents, like all of us are here. I love them unconditionally.
The third is the profession we choose that defines us. By some quirk of fate I am a celebrity… a public figure in the fields of art and media. Like most of us are here today.
As I said being an Indian and my parents’ child is an unconditional accepted truth of my life and I am very proud of both.
The third… being a public figure makes me open to any kind of questioning, adjectives good and bad and or sometimes makes me an object of controversy as people use my name and statements to attach any positive or negative sentiment to it. I accept all the above because this is the life I chose and will stand by it. I am what I am, because of the love and admiration that comes with being who I am in my profession…so I thank everyone for making me the star I am.
Now to address this whole issue, with regards to my Article, that has taken an unwarranted twist . I do not even understand the basis of this controversy.
Ironically the article I wrote (yes its written by me) was actually meant to reiterate that on some occasions my being an Indian Muslim film star is misused by bigots and narrow minded people who have misplaced religious ideologies for small gains….and ironically the same has happened through this article…once again.
The reason for this primarily is….I think some of the people have not even read it and are reacting to comments of people, who in turn have also not read it. So I implore you all to first read it.
Second if you read it, nowhere does the article state or imply directly or indirectly that I feel unsafe….troubled or disturbed in India.
It does not even vaguely say that I am ungrateful for the love that I have received in a career spanning 20 years. On the contrary the article only says that in spite of bigoted thoughts of some of the people that surround us….I am untouched by skepticism because of the love I have received by my countrymen and women.
I will paraphrase the beginning and the end of the article to clarify and substantiate my stand.
“Then, there is the image I most see, the one of me in my own country: being acclaimed as a megastar, adored and glorified, my fans mobbing me with love and apparent adulation..
So I am a Khan, but no stereotyped image is factored into my idea of who I am. Instead, the living of my life has enabled me to be deeply touched by the love of millions of Indians. I have felt this love for the last 20 years regardless of the fact that my community is a minority within the population of India. I have been showered with love across national and cultural boundaries, they appreciate what I do for them as an entertainer – that’s all. My life has led me to understand and imbibe that love is a pure exchange, untempered by definition and unfettered by the narrowness of limiting ideas.
Sometimes, they ask me what religion they belong to and, like a good Hindi movie hero, I roll my eyes up to the sky and declare philosophically, “you are an Indian first and your religion is Humanity”, or sing them an old Hindi film ditty, “tu hindu banega na musalmaan banega – insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega” set to Gangnam style.
Why should not the love we share be the last word in defining us instead of the last name? It doesn’t take a superstar to be able to give love, it just takes a heart and as far as i know, there isn’t a force on this earth that can deprive anyone of theirs.
I am a Khan, and that’s what it has meant being one, despite the stereotype images that surround me. To be a Khan has been to be loved and love back….”
Please I implore everyone here to read the article and convey through your respective mediums of communications, all the good things that it expresses to youngsters and my fellow Indians. It is a heartfelt and extremely important aspect of my life, an appreciation of love that all of you have bestowed upon me and also a point of view from my being a father of two young children
I would like to tell all those who are offering me unsolicited advice that we in India are extremely safe and happy. We have an amazing democratic, free and secular way of life. In the environs that we live here in my country India, we have no safety issues regarding life or material. As a matter of fact it is irksome for me to clarify this non-existent issue. With respect I would like to say to anyone who is interpreting my views and offering advice regarding them, please read what I have written first.
Also some of the views that I have been made to read are just an extension of soft targeting celebs and creating an atmosphere of emotional outbursts and divisiveness based on religion…in the minds of some. I implore everyone to understand, that my article is against exactly this kind of giving in to propaganda and aggressiveness. Lets not be misled by tools which use religion as an anchor for unrest and a policy of divide and rule.
I would also like to add here, that my profession as an actor makes me, liked beyond the borders of my nation and culture. The hugs and love that I am showered upon by Nationalities all around the world, make me safe all over the globe, and my safety has genuinely never been a matter of concern to me…and so it should not be a matter of concern to anyone else either.
We are all educated and patriotic people. We do not have to prove that time and again because of divisive politics of a few.
My own family and friends, are like a mini India…where all religions, professions and a few wrongs included, all are treated with tolerance and understanding and regard for each other. I only sell love…love that I have got from millions of Indians and non Indians….and stand indebted to my audience in my country and around the world. It is sad that I have to say it to prove it, in my country, which my father fought for, during the Independence struggle.
That’s my piece and having said all this…I would like to request all of you present here….that henceforth ask me questions regarding….my next movie. The songs that I have recorded. The release date of my film. The heroines cast in it. The Toiffa awards in Vancouver, because I am an actor and maybe I should just stick to stuff that all of you expect me to have a viewpoint on. The rest of it…maybe I don’t have the right kind of media atmosphere to comment on. So I will refrain from it.
And please if you can…put all I have said on your channels, or mediums of communication, in the exact same light as I have said it and meant it in. 24 hrs of unrequired controversy is more than enough for all of us I assume. So do not sensationalize and hence trivialize matters of national interest and religion any further and drag a movie actor in the middle of it all…and let me get back to doing what I do best….making movies.
Shah Rukh Khan
quite a few valid points about srk in it.
Isn’t it quite ironic, that I wrote this article about a day before all the controversy about srk- muslim angle started ?
Yes you are not only smart but you can also predict the future 😉
Actually, I think srk read my article and gave his perspective 😉
Ha Ha. I thought same too when I first read SRK’s article. More power to you 😉
a piece of advice to srk to avoid religious embarassments in future. he needs to do two things :
1) Say ” I am not an elected spokesperson on behalf of my community neither am i intellectually capable of representing my community on any platform.”
2) I am targeted by politicians and hindu groups because I am popular,not because i am muslim
He says this and he wont ever be questioned on anything.
Or He can just say he’s a loudmouth and does’t make sense in 99% of his interviews or public appearances.
P.S. supposedly Ra.one was core science fiction dealing with electricity and how it travels and electromagnetics … (That, btw was the reason of my 500 crore prediction)
(on 20th Jan, 2013) Did Shah Rukh Khan’s nasty temper cost him his security men? and (on 28th Jan 2013 after his interview) Shah Rukh Khan to be given ‘non-categorised security’
.Shahrukh shud have thought before commenting as it can be taken out of context(which SRK is himself saying and has been done earlier also)……when u know some people will try to take things out of context(and they had done that in past also) than why not take care of it..!!
I have read the full article and agree with some of his points but i think he don’t understand one thing that is
India have people from Hindus, muslims , Sikhs , parsis and many other Religions…..and they all are indians…
If being a muslim SRK face some problem he says it bcoz he feels he is in minority but when a Akshay kumar or a Ajay devgan faces protest from sikhs community for SIK, OMG and SOS respectively can they say they are from majority that’s why they are facing it…..
NO….its just that there are some people in 120 cr population who will protest whether u are in favor or against any topic it has nothing to do with who is in minority and who is in majority..!!
Have you read the article? When he said that hez movies face problem b’coz hez from minority? Dnt BS.
The ppl who are saying that SRK should not speak on such topics are the one who feel that if a girl is raped or a family member is killed than the girl or the other members should not complain to police fearing that the person who raped or killed may harm them further.
“”I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in india.””
if indian muslims are not in minority then Uday chopra is better actor than Amitabh bachchan..!!
“”The ppl who are saying that SRK should not speak on such topics are the one who feel that if a girl is raped or a family member is killed than the girl or the other members should not complain to police fearing that the person who raped or killed may harm them further.””
let Kamal hassan for Vishwaroopam , Akshay kumar for SIK,OMG, Ajay Devgan for SOS, Aamir khan for Fanna, Hrithik Roshan for Jodha akbar and many more…shud come forward to say Political party is doing this to them bcoz they are Indian Hindu, Indian Muslim, Indian parsi and the people will feel insecure towards each others religion while the concerned Rich Actor will get Z-Security cover and will live happily ever after while people from different religion will feel the tension…
that situation will be idle..!!
wtf did u replied?
I asked you When
he said that hez movies face
problem b’coz hez from minority?
and ua reply was following excerpt ”I sometimes become the
inadvertent object of political
leaders who choose to make me
a symbol of all that they think is
wrong and unpatriotic about
Muslims in india.””
dude please refer a dictionary.
make it clear he didnt talked anout ban of his movies. KH is already fighting and BTW why SRK needs to wait for ajay akshaykumar and the likes to protest first?? because he is from minority?? Now I understood y SRK wrote that para.
my friend the famous Shiv sena controversy was during My Name is Khan if i m not wrong..!!
but i understand being a fan is not easy so….maybe u r right..!!
End of topic for me..!! 🙂