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Bajrangi Bhaijaan And Bollywood’s Connection With Pak

Why Do Stories Set In Pakistan Often Work?

Salman Khan’s Bajraangi Bhaijaanis creating all the buzzever since the trailer released and this time Bhaijaan is crossing the border to help a little girl who accidentally came to India. Salman Khan’s character promises to get her home safely. This is like Gadar meets Silas Marner and with the added dose of Pakistan, Bajraangi Bhaijaan has all the elements of being a stupendous hit. A perfect Salman Khan vehicle with Kareena Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddique. However, this is not the first time Bollywood has used the Pakistan card, there are countless movies that have and most of themhave done well at the box office. These movies talk about post-partition days, Indo-Pak politics and romance across borders. One can also see these movies address the animosity that exist between these two countries.

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha starring Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel inspired by the legend of Boota Singh was a colossal hit at the box-office even triumphing Laagan that released during that time. This movie helped in creating several clones, like Veer-Zara and Ek Tha Tiger, both were commercial successful ventures. Depicting cross-border romance is always prone to controversy and Ek Tha Tiger too landed in trouble.The Pakistani Censor Board refused to release the moviefor they showed a romantic relationship between a RAW agent played by Salman Khan and ISI Agent played by Katrina Kaif. Unlike Gadar, where anti-Pakistani sentiments were at an all time high because of the recently concluded Kargil war, Veer-Zara tried to soothe the sentiments.Veer-Zara from the house of YRF, had Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta in the lead roles with Rani Mukherjee in a pivotal role that tells the story of Veer and Zara’s cross-border love story. Veer, a pilot with the Indian air-force saves Zara, a Pakistani girl and then goes to Pakistan in search of her only to languish in a Pakistani jail as Zara’s fiancé conspires with the police and declares him a spy. It is only because of Rani Mukherjee, playing a Pakstani lawyer that Veer is released and finally unites with Zara. Veer-Zara was a stupendous success at the box-office and more importantly the music given by the late Madan Mohan touched everyone’s heart.

Other dramatic movies based on Indo-pak relationship are Lahore and 1971 with the former based on a kickboxing tournament involving Indian and Pakistani kickboxers while 1971 is about Indian POWs in Pakistani jails after the Bangladesh war and their plot to escape. Another movie based on Indian POWs in Pakistani jails was Deewar: Let’s Bring Our Heroes Homestarring Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Akshay Khanna but turned out to be a box office turkey.

The contentious relationship between India and Pakistan has formed a large chunk of Bollywood depictions where a number of movies have had Pakistani conspiracy of destabilizing India. Sarfarosh, starring Aamir Khan and about cross-border terrorism has to be one of the finest movies made in this genre. Bereft of masala and extremely realistic, Sarfarosh was one of a kind movie that followed the story of ACP Ajay Singh Rathod who wants to end the nexus between ISI-Terrorists and Indian traitors. Apart from Sarfarosh, movies like Kohram, Ab Tumhare Hawalein Waton Saathiyo tried to depict this scenario but not with much success because of lackadaisical scripts and high octane Pakistani bashing that ultimately resulted in nothing. But then Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod did something unexpected and brought India-Pakistan relationship under scanner through a James Bond lens with the daredevil agent Vinod trying to prevent a nuclear war that will destroy both countries. The movie failed to do well but it was extremely well-executed till a hackneyed climax collapsed everything.

There is another set of movies have tried to expose the Indo-Pak relationship through the help of comedy as well as satire. If we look at movies like Tere Bin Laden, Total Siyappa,Filmistan, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore, Welcome to Karachi or the upcoming Bangistan, they all have made fun of the problems that these two countries have and give a glimmer of hope that it is possible for two countries to exist peacefully. Tere Bin Laden is a satire on the media obsession with Osama Bin Laden and how anOsama look alike creates havoc in the political machinery but no one knows that it is a plot conceived by a journalist, played by Ali Jafar to earn a visa to America as this would give him instant fame and recognition as the only journalist with access to Osama Bin Laden.

In Filmistan, we see a diehard Bollywood fan getting kidnapped by Pakistani terrorists and how their mutual love of movies gives everyone a ray of hope about relationships improving. Total Siyappa is another movie that tried to go to that same territory where a Pakistani boy falls in love with an Indian girl that creates havoc in the life of the girl’s family. Bangistan, an out an out satire is trying to go where no Hindi movie has gone before by satirizing the entire landscape of India and Pakistan, where two dumb and dumber type characters are made suicide bombers to kill religious leaders who are trying to preach peace between the two warring nations. Played by Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat, Bangistan promises to be fun as well as explore Indo-Pak relationship that will surely ruffle a lot of feathers. It has the potential to be become the Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron of this generation.

Coming back toBajraangi Bhaijaan, itis sure to have a fantastic run at the box-office. It has Salman Khan and a storyline that will surely woo the audience because it brings back Bollywood’s Pakistan connection and with Bhai leading this movie, nothing can go wrong and what’s even more exciting about Bajraangi Bhaijaan that it might give the political upheaval a miss just focusing on solid entertainment.

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