Al Jazeera, a state-owned publication of Qatar, yesterday contacted Gems of Bollywood with questions regarding the recent release Pathaan.
We are producing the questions emailed to us by their correspondent Takshi Mehta along with the answers we sent to her.
Al Jazeera’s question: Why are you boycotting Pathaan?
Gems of Bollywood reply: Gems of Bollywood has shown videos and statements of Bollywood films and film personalities. These included films and interviews previously given by the cast of the film Pathaan. In turn, it was our audience that chose to stay away from Bollywood and the film in question. We are assuming it is the people’s reaction to our work what you are referring to as ‘boycotting Pathaan’.
Or do you mean why are we not watching Pathaan? Well, that’s because we are not willing to pay for a product that offers nothing constructive to the brain and instead fills it with plagiarized nonsense. On top of it, it seems to have subtle agendas contrary to the reality. For instance, we find the plot of a noble ISI agent and an Afghani Pathan joining hands to kill a rogue RAW officer decorated with a gallantry award for battlefield, on mountains of Afghanistan (Hindu Kush is the most prominent mountain range in Afghanistan; the word literally means where Hindus are killed) highly objectionable.
That this film has come at a time when Afghanistan is being ruled by the Taliban, almost all Hindus and Sikhs from the land have been driven out, and India is striving hard to deal with ISI’s notorious 1000-cuts policy, adds to that sentiment.
Choosing to not buy a product and making people aware about its ingredients, is not the same as boycotting the product.
Al Jazeera’s question: Did you see the movie?
Gems of Bollywood reply: No. The Gems of Bollywood website has posted a review of the film, but it is written by a third party source. Read it here.
Al Jazeera’s question: What are your thoughts about people who adore Shah Rukh Khan?
Gems of Bollywood reply: We believe that a large chunk of the fandom is PR propaganda where money has been used to impact impressionable minds and make them believe that on-screen staged performance is heroism. Shahrukh Khan has a track record of highly objectionable roles and unethical professionalism.
In his iconic film Baazigar, Shahrukh Khan played a psycho serial killer who traps a woman into a relationship, only to throw her off a cliff. He strangles another woman to death, packs her in a suitcase and throws off into a river in the same film. In the end, it is shown that sister of one of these women cries at his death and fondly remembers their romantic moments together even as ‘baazigar o baazigar’ plays in slow tempo in the background, in a female voice.
In another iconic film of his, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Khan played a stalker-molester who teases a woman by showing her a bra, tears off her blouse and eats it, and forcibly tries to kiss her when she is drunk (song zara sa jhoom lun main), all of which are offences that can invite police action under the Indian Penal Code. In the end, it is shown that the woman has fallen for him and her father willingly gives her hand to him in marriage, saying that he thinks nobody can love her more than him.
You can read a detailed analysis of Khan’s creepy filmography compiled by Gems of Bollywood here.
In film Ra.One, which was his home production, Khan was seen groping Kareena Kapoor in a supposedly funny scene even though the film was, in his own words, made for children.
He has featured in songs that celebrated rape such as ’18 baras ki kunwari kali thi’ and ‘Bharatpur lut gaya hai mori amma’.
We think that anybody who ‘adores’ these acts has potential of becoming a psycho serial killer or, in the least, a stalker-molester.
A lot of the work he has featured in has been blatantly copied from other films. Film Baadshah had several long scenes completely plagiarised from Hollywood films. Even a poster of film Pathaan seems lifted, not to mention the plagiarised music, action scenes and dialogues. This is unethical, especially at a time when the same industry is speaking against piracy.
Al Jazeera’s question: What do you think of Shah Rukh Khan?
Gems of Bollywood reply: Apart from his problematic stalker-killer-molester roles as listed above, Khan has displayed caste- and race-supremacist attitude in several interviews where he said things like “I am a Pathan, I am very protective of my family” or “I am a Pathan, I am not scared of anything”. We believe such statements demean other castes and races, given that in census reports, Pathan has been listed as a category of Indian Muslims that are of foreign blood and thus “Ashraf” (higher caste). We also find it tragic that he has built his career on plagiarized works.
Al Jazeera’s question: Do you think the boycotting has had any influence on the film’s business?
Gems of Bollywood reply: Only filmmakers and their investors can answer this, provided that they want to. However, if it is not affecting the film’s business in any negative way, as asserted by many, then Bollywood should encourage this harmless, non-violent and perfectly legal creativity because they are champions of freedom of expression.
However, recently, Suneil Shetty was seen requesting Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to talk to prime minister Narendra Modi and help stop ‘boycott Bollywood’ hashtags on social media. Before that, actor Arjun Kapoor was seen saying in an interview that Bollywood made a “mistake” by remaining mum on ‘boycott Bollywood’ campaigns on social media. It’s no secret that Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chadha and Akshay Kumar’s Samrat Prithviraj did not see crowds from day one itself. Now, well-known film analysts like Komal Nahta are calling alleged first-day good run of Pathaan film as “slap on boycott Bollywood gangs”.
We can no way know for sure because Bollywood finances are not in public domain. Given their past alleged connections with the Underworld, and given the pro-ISI propaganda in many films, probably ISI or Bollywood insiders would know this better.
However, let this be noted that the anti-Bollywood movement is not about forcing anyone to harm Bollywood financially. It is about spreading awareness on negative aspects of Bollywood and encouraging people to stay away from it. It is just like Satyagraha during Freedom movement.
Please note that these are our personal views based on our objective analysis. We never force anyone to accept our views, but if they do, we feel they are helping make the world a better place for our future generations.
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