Bollywood on terror trail

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By Priyanka Khanna

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) When terrorism is the hottest topic of discussion all around, then how can fable-tellers and dream merchants of Bollywood be far behind?

Every other movie coming out of the stables of Mumbai-based Hindi film industry seems to be straining to unravel the mysterious lives, modus operandi and psyche of terrorists, with mixed results.

This year itself, Bollywood's master showman Subhash Ghai had chosen the subject for his rare though unsuccessful foray into serious cinema in "Black and White" while debutant filmmaker Raj Kumar Gupta had used the same theme in his sparkling debut "Amir".

Likewise, "Khuda Ke Liye" by Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor became a hit in India as well as Pakistan.

This week's latest high-pitch release - "Mission Istanbul" - is yet another action-packed parable based on global terrorism. Directed by Apoorva Lakhia, who is on a high after the success of "Shootout At Lokhandwala", the film stars Viveik Oberoi, Zayed Khan, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Nikitin Deer, Shriya Sharan and Shweta Bhardwaj.

"Terrorism affects so many people from the victims, to their families and even to those associated with terrorists. You cannot say one party is right and the other is wrong as both think they are correct in whatever they are doing," said Lakhia.

Coming out soon are films like Nishikant Kamat's "Mumbai Meri Jaan" that has a plot touching upon the Mumbai commuter train bombings of 2006, "Hijack" which is inspired by the infamous hijacking of an Indian airliner, "Ruslaan" that depicts the fallout of the train blasts on a young Muslim boy, and in-the-making "Khan", which dwells on terrorism and is a major departure for pulp filmmaker Karan Johar

Terrorists are the new face of villainy in Bollywood with the peculiar characters in the past like 'Dr Dang' in "Karma" or 'Mogambo' in "Mr India" or 'Loin' in "Kalicharan" making way for them.

The new faces of terror are men and women who look like any one of us and have their moments of emotional upheavals, indecisiveness and sometimes possible redemption.

From a faceless person to an identity akin to real life, terrorists in Bollywood potboilers have come a long way. Over the last decade, more and more films are portraying terrorists as Muslim, while turning a blind eye to terror perpetuated in other parts of the country.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt says that Islamic terrorism is an American doctrine that has found takers in India including the filmmakers. Bhatt, who had tackled the subject in his film "Dhoka", says that state terrorism is the fountainhead of all kinds of terrorism in the society.

"Such tendencies flourish where there is a unjust society, no delivery system of justice," he said in an interview.

According to some commentators, filmmakers are increasingly glamourising the issue of terrorism. Terrorism has become an apt backdrop for showcasing action and high drama with towering infernos, men jumping off from 121st floor, women scrambling on each other to get out of the building on fire and terrorists being caught on the terraces.

Bollywood is at a stage where Hollywood found itself before reality hit America and 9/11 attacks.

Hollywood scriptwriters now know that movies with terrorism glorified are no longer welcomed. With time, Bollywood too shall evolve and learn that terrorism is a serious political issue in which it is no longer possible to remain with taking stands.

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