After CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the US government’s intelligence agency, revealed that the award-winning Hollywood film Argo (2012) did not show the real-life incident it was based on accurately. Now, fans in India have demanded that the country’s intelligence agencies, like Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), should point out the inconsistencies in Bollywood films like Ek Tha Tiger (2012) and Deshdrohi (2008) that are based on the life of secret agents.
On the 35th anniversary of the real incident on which Argo was based, CIA took to Twitter to point out the errors. "Today we tell you what’s ‘reel’ vs. ‘real’," they wrote, and went on to point out, "Reel #Argo: Only one CIA officer goes to Tehran to help exfiltrate the six American diplomats. Real #Argo: Two CIA officers with notable forgery and exfiltration skills used their talents & knowledge to get the six out of Iran safely (sic)."
This was followed by a series of similar tweets. Soon, fans in India asked for similar checks. "The CIA fact checked Argo. INSANE Can RAW fact check Ek Tha Tiger or Desh Drohi(sic)," tweeted Kapil Gupta, a Twitter user. However, film-makers in India defend their ‘creative license’ saying that sticking to facts can lead to a “not so entertaining film".
Hansal Mehta, who directed the National Award-winning film, Shahid (2013), says, "For films based on true incidents, the director has to stay true to the facts. But then you have to make it engaging as well, and that’s where we tweak certain aspects of the story."
Actor Kamaal Rashid Khan, who played the lead in Deshdrohi, says, "Creative liberty to lena banta hain, warna koi film ban hi nahi sakti agar aap sab real dikhaye to (creative liberty is essential as it is impossible to make a film with just real facts)," adding, "agar RAW Indian films dekhne lag gaye to hans hans ke pagal ho jayenge (If RAW officials start watching our films, they will go crazy laughing)."