It’s 2023 but Bollywood can’t seem to get over its obsession of portraying lame and rather bizarre stereotypes about Pakistanis in its movies.
Netfilx released the official trailer for Mission Majnu that features Sidharth Malhotra as an Indian spy on a covert operation to expose nuclear weapons in the heart of Pakistan that India must “neutralise”. Everything was fine till Malhotra dresses up like a ‘Muslim Pakistani’. So Indian filmmakers have a starter pack for actors playing the roles of Muslims and Pakistanis. A man with kohl-rimmed eyes who spits adaab in every sentence, wearing a namaz ki topi [skullcap] and something green in the background somewhere to show that this is a Muslim person or from the Muslim community. Women would be shown wearing lehnga aur ghagra, with lots of bangles, and yes the tradition of adaab continues for them too. However, the reality is far different.
The matter of the fact is that Bollywood has been successfully fooling the world by portraying and creating this image to represent Pakistanis. One of the leading film industries in the world has been adamantly bent on trying to portray and represent Pakistanis as a threat. Due to this portrayal, for the longest time people believed it to be true when it comes to Pakistan.
Bollywood has been making bad anti-Pakistan propaganda for years now but a little research would tell them that no, Pakistanis do not look, wear or talk like they depict in their movies. From Veer-Zaara in 2004 to Mission Majnu in 2023, Bollywood’s depiction of Pakistan and Pakistani lifestyle has been completely wrong. No, we don’t live in 19th century Lucknow. Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and other cities of Pakistan don’t have men with kajal going adaab-adaab or roaming around in sherwanis as if it’s a norm.
What is even more appalling is to witness that in India, most leading Bollywood actors are Muslims, some originating from Pakistan and yet they don’t wear and look like anything Bollywood so often depicts Muslims, be they in India or Pakistan.
We hope that for once Bollywood comes out of its propagandist thinking and portrays ‘Pakistani Muslims’ as they are.