After British actor Riz Ahmed and Pakistani President Arif Alvi expressed their disgust and disappointment – respectively – at the ‘Islamophobic’ Indian film Sooryavanshi, actor Mehwish Hayat and Jibran Nasir have followed suit by calling out Rohit Shetty and Bollywood.
While the filmmaker responded to the backlash his Muslim villains in Sooryavanshi received, the wave of criticism is not dying down and many have only started noticing how Modi’s India is making things for worse for its Muslim minority by constantly representing them as the bad guys.
In his clarification-cum-counter narrative presented to The Quint, Shetty had argued why his Hindu villains in previous films did not draw similar ire. He went on to assure that there was no specific agenda behind making villains out of a certain caste or religion. But an article in the Washington Post explained why Sooryavanshi’s success at the box office should worry us all.
Now, Hayat has tweeted: “Sooryavanshi is the latest film in Bollywood promoting Islamophobia. The tide is turning in Hollywood and I hope that across the border, they will also follow suit.” She went on to reinstate, “As I’ve said, if not positive depictions, at least be fair in the way that you show Muslims. Build bridges, not hatred!”
“Sooryavanshi”is the latest film in Bollywood promoting islamophobia. The tide is turning in Hollywood & I hope that across the border they will also follow suit. As I’ve said, if not positive depictions,at least be fair in the way that you show Muslims. Build bridges not hatred! pic.twitter.com/DA7MUuVpKo— Mehwish Hayat TI (@MehwishHayat) November 17, 2021
Nasir has also lambasted the rising numbers of problematic narratives being propagated by India. “World's biggest democracy, second most populous country with eight major religions, 121 major languages, 29 states and different cultures, 4000 cities or towns, 5500+ years of civilization but every big film now has to reinforce the Hindutva narrative.”
World's biggest democracy, 2nd most populous country, 8 major religions, 121 major languages, 29 states with different cultures, 4000 cities/towns, 5500+ yrs of civilization but every big film now has to reenforce the Hindutva narrative. How poor India has become & how quick.— M. Jibran Nasir 🇵🇸 (@MJibranNasir) November 17, 2021
He went on to lament, “How poor India has become and how quickly.”
In March last year, Akshay Kumar, who stars in Sooryavanshi, had told PTI, that to him, there was “only one religion and that was being Indian,” and his upcoming film Sooryavanshi would reflect that. The actor claimed the film's story would not view the world through the lens of religion. "I don't believe in any religion. I only believe in being Indian and that is what the film also shows. The idea of being an Indian and not about being a Parsi or a Hindu or a Muslim, we haven't looked at it on the basis of the religion," Kumar had asserted.
Asked if Sooryavanshi was more relevant in times of communal unrest in India, the actor said, "It is a coincidence, we haven't made it deliberately. But, yes, it is very much a relevant film today."
An article in the Washington Post explains why Sooryavanshi’s success at the box office should worry us all and Ahmed, as well as Alvi, had shared it on their Twitter with the prior making a disgusted face while the latter wrote, “Dangerous for India. In this Islamophobic hatred, India will destroy itself. No less, I hope and pray that sane elements within Indian society prevent this.”
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ