AA Edit | Modi’s signal on Pathaan film release gives hope

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

At a time when war, pandemic, or economic and social chaos is marking the face of countries globally, India seems to be looking upwards.

Pathaan movie to be released of January 25. (Image: Twitter)

On more than one front, 2023 seems to be a year of hope, positivity and welcome change for the people of India. At a time of global economic concerns, we are doing well economically. At a time when war, pandemic, or economic and social chaos is marking the face of countries globally, India seems to be looking upwards.

One issue lingering as a sore wound in India’s collective psyche was this artificially created communal divide, an effort of some, which could give huge negative results for most of us. And nothing reflected or symbolised it better than the anti-Bollywood drive in the last few years.

It all began with as a backlash against Bollywood scions, after the unfortunate demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and became a media-triggered rage that became widespread against certain actors for either their inherited star status and career; or their arrogance, etc.

As happens easily enough, the campaign got morphed into a larger attack against Bollywood for being anti-India, or in any case, anti Hindus, and this became the basis to launch and sustain non-stop campaigns, several of them unfair, unfounded, and based slanderously on lies, on vaguely assembled prosecutions.

In the next two years, it created an atmosphere of insecurity and fear amongst Bollywood stars, many of whom, after a little resistance gave in to a resigned silence and withdrawal from the debate. Overnight, this campaign on social media, acquired the power of a philosopher’s stone in reverse — gold could be turned into iron at a touch — and India’s biggest super stars and movie icons became villains.

A beloved star like Aamir Khan, or Shah Rukh Khan, part of a slice of which India boasted of as being ambassadors of its soft power, began reeling under the largely unprovoked, and unjustified onslaught.

It looked like another bleak year for both India’s narrative within, and Bollywood with SRK’s latest movie seemingly set for another boycott call.

The Bollywood industry was going through a troubled phase and began reeling under a series of flops after Covid-19 that saw some big films like Laal Singh Chaddha bomb at the box office. People were digging up old interviews of stars to find statements to suit their narrative to boycott the films

It all changed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi admonishing his own party leaders to not join issue on irrelevant issues, especially movies. Like everything else Modi does, it succeeded. Given that the boycott Bollywood call worked in terms of the scale it reached because of support of leaders in the ruling party, Modi’s call gives hope that all is well again.

Or as SRK would say, like in our movies, by the end, all things get worked out well. This one sure seems to have.