Padmavat, Lipstick under my Burqa, Tanjahi, and The Kerala Story are some of the Islamophobic movies produced in Bollywood since the BJP came to power.

By Sumna Sadaqat / Muslim Mirror

After politics, business and academics, the ostracization of Muslims has gradually permeated into the entertainment industry as well, with Bollywood blockbusters failing to represent Muslims. Neither as comedians, nor as side characters Muslims have suddenly disappeared from most movie scripts these days which instils a sense of alienation amongst the community.But this lack of representation has been wedded with Bollywood’s silent romanticization of Islamophobia over years through movies like ‘Padmavat’, ‘Lipstick under my Burqa’,  ‘Tanjahi’ and The Kashmir File projecting Muslims to be villains, violent, barbaric, oppressive, harsh, abusive, uncivilized or indecent. As the famous author, Robert Mckee puts it, ‘story telling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world’ the Hindi cinema is using, rather misusing the power it wields as one of the highest earning entertainment industries in India to misinform its viewers about Islam and Muslims. 2022 has been a landmark in aggravating Islamophobic content creation in Hindi cinema via movies like Kashmir Files which have promoted divisive politics based on communal lines to appease a majority of viewers on one hand and Brahmastra which have hyperbolically portrayed Hindu philosophy on the other.

An upcoming movie in the chain, due to be released in 2023 is ‘The Kerala Story’, the trailer of which has caused much havoc due to regional and religious backlash received. In the trailer posted by the actress, a burqa adorning Keralite woman named Shalini is expressing how she has been coerced to convert to Islam and is now named Fatima Ba and is being used by ISIS as a terrorist along with 32000 other such girls. This trailer of over a minute is highlighting the concept of Muslims being terrorists and can be clearly seen as a flagbearer of anti-Muslim propaganda.

The gradual rise of such content across entertainment platforms is primarily because Islamophobic content is the highest payment option in India these days and such films serve the financial interests of its makers rampantly. The entertainment industry runs on the choices of people, and creates content which the public loves to watch and in the current scenario, hate is the only currency running and animosity is what is being sold, bought and fed at a large scale by politicians, businessmen, media houses and hence the general public.

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