Hinduphobic Bollywood and boycott culture
Bollywood is braving tough times. Either its films are being boycotted or doing meagre business. On the other side, a small South Indian film industry is not only rocking the national landscape but is also going global. What went wrong for the Bollywood is one question which is baffling every mind associated with the business of movies. The latest Bollywood film in the line of fire is Badshaah of Bollywood Shahrukh Khan and leggy lash Deepika Padukone starrer Pathan that will hit theatres on January 25, 2023. One of the largest releases in the March quarter, the movie is anticipated to do well at the box office by exhibitors. The film’s song Besharam Rang (shameless colour), which was released on December 12 and caused a stir over Padukone’s saffron-colored swimsuit, is the source of dispute in the Pathaan controversy. The clothes were one of many things that Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra objected to, saying that the song reflected a nasty mindset and that the film might not be allowed to be released in the state until the offensive sections were modified. Despite the demanded modifications were done in the film, the boycott call for the film is far from dying down. However, at the time of writing of this article, the movie broke all the records of advance booking and has already earned 5 crore rupees.
Similar to Pathaan, certain other notable Bollywood movies, such as Laal Singh Chaddha (LSC), starring Aamir Khan, Raksha Bandhan, starring Akshay Kumar, and Brahmastra, starring Ranbir Kapoor, took the brunt of the Boycott Bollywood craze. Liger, starring Vijay Deverakonda and Ananya Pandey, and Thank God, starring Ajay Devgn, were two other movies that bore the brunt of these calls. Because of Aamir Khan’s 2014 movie PK, which some organisations said poked fun of Hindu deities, Laal Singh Chaddha was boycotted. Even though Kareena Kapoor Khan might not have wanted to, the #BoycottLaalSinghChaddha campaign had the power to influence how well the movie does at the box office and the box-office collections of Laal Singh Chaddha shows the might of this power. The danger posed by boycott culture is real. The sooner the Hindi film industry realises it, too, the better off it will be to salvage its films, as Twitter propagandists have realised the potential of this culture. Shamshera, directed by Karan Malhotra, was the first film to be boycotted. It had such a disastrous box office performance that it is being used as a lesson. It was supported by Yash Raj Films and marked Ranbir Kapoor’s comeback to the big screen after a four-year absence. It was a historical drama with imperial India in the 18th century and promised a spectacle story. But what went wrong with it, has puzzled many biz pundits. But these pundits, never understood that it painted Hinduism in a negative light through its impolite, evil protagonist and was one of many contributing elements in its failure. Unsurprisingly, the citizens of a strongly religious, god-fearing nation saw this as ample bait. They stayed well away from the movie.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, cinema has been the most dominant medium. Indian cinema was greatly influenced by the first International Film Festival of India, which took place in early 1952 in Bombay. As time has gone on, Bollywood cinema has continuously developed and advanced technologically. The Indian film industry made significant strides in the 20th century, and it is now on par with Hollywood productions. The media serves as a powerful tool to shape people’s perceptions and play a vital influence in the social construction of reality. The cinema serves as a vehicle for artistic expression while also fulfilling the roles of mass media in terms of performing, communication, educating and cultural transmission. The widespread popularity of movies and their audio-visual format give them a global capacity for social influence. As a result, they have the potential to play a significant role in society as a source of entertainment, information, and education as well as a catalyst for social change. Movies are well-liked because they amuse, and they have significantly contributed to the major changes in how we live and how we see the world around us that have changed over the past 50–60 years.
stresses and aspirations of viewer‟s lives.
Since social media usage in the nation has increased dramatically, people have started talking about subjects that were taboo in both the public and educational realms. We take pride in the fact that we are a liberal democracy and are open to criticism of our own traditions and values. In recent years, numerous Hinduphobic films in Bollywood have come under fire for disseminating anti-Hindu propaganda under the cover of freedom of speech and in violation of Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution. The majority of movies frequently display the Hinduphobia that is synonymous with Bollywood. Bollywood has repeatedly mocked rituals and traditions to further its own limited agenda. Such distortions are inevitable given the stranglehold Islamists and secularists have on the sector. Wokes and the so-called HINOs (Hindus in Name Only, or HINOs) will undoubtedly eat this up, but the real threat is the impact such propaganda will inevitably have on the next generation.
One cannot deny that it is intentional to represent Hindu traditions and rituals in such a negative way. Anti-Hindu content that fosters fear of Hindus is prevalent in movies. Due to these representations, Hinduism is linked to crimes like lynching’s and rapes. Bollywood alters remakes, even when they are of south Asian films, to malign Hinduism. It swaps out the original movies’ pro-Hindu content for alternative minority-pleasing or Hindumisic (anti-Hindu) elements.
Bollywood would never try to disparage Christian or Islamic traditions. For fear of retribution and hurting the feelings of these religions’ adherents, they would even refrain from pointing out the horrors within them. However, as far as Bollywood is concerned, offending Hindu emotions is standard fare for them.
Indian cinema has always leaned on the familiarity of audiences with puranic (Hindu mythological) stories and their ardour for Hindu deities. Raja Ravi Varma and Dadasaheb Phalke’s groundbreaking efforts in mainstream culture made it possible to get glimpse of Hindu gods outside of exclusive religious infrastructures.
The mythological subgenre mostly vanished into obscurity with the post-Independence emergence of “social” films (or, if one may say so, the arrival of Muslim filmmakers). The Congress government led by Jawaharlal Nehru responded favourably to requests for greater control of movies based on Hindu deities. Still, at this time, movies were made with the intention of spreading a message to the public through the telling of stories.
Movie topics gradually shifted to include tales of love, crime, family, dance, and so forth. At this point, movies began to develop into a source of income in addition to being a means of entertainment. By the 1960s, the majority of Punjabis who had emigrated from Pakistan had begun to invest in and profit from this filmmaking industry.
The Punjabi culture began to dominate the film industry, which then developed into the most glitzy and lucrative industry. It is now common knowledge that criminals are drawn to situations where there is glitter and money. Underworld first became interested in Bollywood in the 1970s. At first, their interest was only in the glamour attached to the profession, but with time, they began to make investments in films. The first mafia dons to start establishing connections with the film community and investing money in Bollywood were Haji Mastan and Varadrajan Mudliar.
At first, these criminals were just concerned with money, attractive women, and strong connections. However, as time went on, they began to influence the film industry, promoting Islam and demonising Hinduism. After Haji Mastan, Dawood Ibrahim, murderer of many in Mumbai bomb lbasts, took control and began extorting Bollywood stars. Similar to Dawood, numerous small gangs, like Hanif, Lakdawala, Abu Salem, etc., were not only engaged in extorting money from Bollywood producers, but also making an impact on the story line up. It was through these activities that the demonization of Hinduism gained momentum in Bollywood.
One can easily see how the underworld- Hinduphobic Bollywood nexus works, in the RajKumar Hirani and Vidu Vinod Chopra’s magnum opus film “Sanju” which was merely a successful attempt to whitewash the reputation of infamous Sanjay Dutt. Dawood Ibrahim’s participation in the Mumbai bombings was very meticulously eliminated by Rajkumar Hirani, a renowned Hinduphobe. He demonstrated how Sanjay Dutt was hobnobbing with several Hindu gangsters and ultimately participated in the crime of obtaining/keeping and destroying the AK-56 in the film.
Bollywood should reflect on the stuff it is producing. Due to the influence of social media, which is a potent tool, the cancel culture may be having some effect on box office revenue. People are affected and discouraged by it. One firmly believes that the decision to watch a star, a plot, or a movie is entirely up to the audience. They ought to be able to decide for themselves consciously. In addition to entertaining, cinema also has a duty to inform, provoke thought, and hold up a mirror to the world in which we live. It is to start a talk, especially one about a difficult subject. Nothing is immune to criticism, not even movies or religion, but it must not be selective and must cover every religion and its bad aspects.
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