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Terrorism redux: How Hindi films have tackled the issue of Terrorism

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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External aggression has been a favourite theme with the Hindi film directors, as also in other language films and has been used and continues to be used as the channel vehicle to display the bravado in a character and to enter into a dialogue with the audience by sub-consciously stirring the latent spirit of nationalism laid dormant by the struggle of day-to-day existence. This streak is more so evident during the times of national festivals.
If the oeuvre is spread out in a neat manner, then it is able to score a hit with the audience every time it is displayed, and SHOLAY is prime example of the same. It is an external aggression when viewed from the perspective that a small hamlet continues to get perpetrated by the marauding bandicoots.

However, if a fault line has to be picked up to define the real moment when terrorism emerged as a subject with prominence in the Hindi films Subhash Ghai's KARMA would be the film. Shot in and around Kashmir, it was able to contextualize the issue of terrorism with a candor. The same was followed by Mehul Kumar's TIRANGA starring Nana Patekar and Raj Kumar and forms a regular fixture along with KARMA as the films to be viewed on the eve of national festivals.

Subsequently the issue of tackling terrorism through a cinematic interpretation became an order of the day and scores of films were made. But in their over-zealousness they went over board and as a result they were not able to hit bull's eye. In such a scenario, Santosh Sivan came up with his film 'THE TERRORIST', which still continues to have a halo of controversy surrounding it as it tried to delve in the psychological realm of construction of the entity called terrorist.

It was followed by another significant film, SARFAROSH. This Aamir Khan starrer film for the first time used the landscape of Rajasthan as an entry point of terrorism, and the manner in which the narrative was mounted went on to establish the credentials of Aamir Khan as an actor who could relish in action films as well, and Aamir interpreted the whole issue in a different manner, when he visited the issue of terrorism through FANAA.

While Aamir has successfully delved into the territory of tackling the issue of terrorism, surprisingly, the other two Khans, Shah Rukh and Salman have still not been considered fit to be presented with a film that tackles the issue, May be, post Mumbai blasts somebody would come up with it.

For the first time the joint operations of Police and Army were brought on to the silver screen and the role of army in such situations was handled with aplomb by Ajay Devgan along with Abhishek Bachchan as the Police Officer in ZAMEEN. The same was followed by TANGO CHARLIE that went into North East and brought for the first time the insurgency wars that take place in the North East.

With the new stream of directors emerging on the scene, they have tried to grapple with the issue in a different manner i.e. how the individual and the civil society adjusts and walks on with the life after being stopped at by bomb blast or attacks. This era came into being during the last two years and is characterized by films like MUMBAI MERI JAAN, WEDNESDAY etc.

May be, one would see more such interpretations of the attacks after the dust settles down on the recent Mumbai attacks.

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