Indian movie industry Bollywood is known mostly for its romantic movies. Apart from these typical romantic movies it has little to offer to those who are looking for representation of variety of cultural ideas and values. In the spectrum of these varied cultural ideas one idea that is almost totally missing is the idea of Peace and Anti-war. Since coming in power of the Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi a systematic effort is going on to create hatred for our Pakistani and Chinese neighbors. The state of Jammu & Kashmir is burning as well as border regions with China are under constant stress. The nationalist belligerent government is hell bent on starting some kind of war with either Pakistan or China. The war drums are constantly beating. Indian news media is also busy carrying the war message of government to people.
In such hostile war environment one Bollywood star is busy spreading the much needed message of Peace and Love. That star is Salman Khan. Before the release of his film Tubelight last year he said, “In war, the armies of both sides lose their lives. The families are without their sons or their fathers. They have to live their whole lives without them.” This is so true. He is busy creating, I think for the first time in the Indian movie history, a whole new genre of Anti-war movies. Beginning with Ek tha Tiger in 2012 and continuing with Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Tubelight and Tiger Zinda Hai he has created some serious anti-war movies.
Ek tha Tiger is a story of two Indian and Pakistani spy agency RAW and ISI agents, Indian RAW agent Tiger played by Salman and Pakistani ISI agent Zoya played by Katrina Kaif, who fall in love with each other while on a spying mission as enemies. Their love story is a conflict of their love for each other on side and the age old animosity, being created by respective Indian and Pakistani governments for their own benefits, between Indians and Pakistanis on the other side. An Indian RAW agent and a Pakistani ISI agent falling in love with each other is unthinkable and forbidden on both sides. But love doesn’t see nationalities. This is a battle of love between two individuals on one side and a collective hate of Indians and Pakistanis on the other side. In the end love wins and hatred loses. Both Tiger and Zoya decide to run away leaving behind their spy agent careers to live a life full of love and peace. This is a win of two individuals over their collective identity. This is a win of peace over war. Through this movie Salman is definitely sending a message to both Indians and Pakistanis to stop hating each other and create an amicable peaceful environment full of love for each other so that both countries can progress.
In Bajrangi Bhaijaan the story revolves around a little mute Pakistani girl Munni, played by Harshaali Malhotra, who visits India and gets lost while returning back. She is being found out by an honest and simple Indian guy named Pawan (aka Bajrangi) – a role played by Salman Khan – who is an ardent devotee of Hindu deity Hanuman. Pawan creates a strong bond of love and care for this little girl and then the story develops into Bajrangi’s honest wholehearted efforts to take back this little girl to her home in Pakistan. Without worrying for his own safety and life Bajrangi crosses India-Pakistan border to enter Pakistan to take back Munni home. In Pakistan two kind hearted honest people, a Pakistani reporter played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and a Madarasa school teacher played by Om Puri, help him to get Munni back to her parents. This movie sends a beautiful message of love and peace among Indians and Pakistanis. Through this movie Salman yet again expresses his wishes that the animosity between Indians and Pakistanis ends and we all live in peace and prosperity in the end.
In Tubelight Salman Khan sends a message of peace, love and friendship with our Chinese neighbors. The Indian government is busy creating hatred for our Chinese neighbors too. This is also an age old manufactured animosity. Both countries have gone to war in past, and Tubelight is a story of two bothers caught in 1962 Sino-India war. Laxman, role played by Salman, is an abnormal child who lives with his brother Bharat, a role played by Salman’s real brother Sohail Khan, near Chinese border in Kumaon region. In 1962 war Laxman’s brother enlists in army and goes on border to fight a war with China. During that time a Chinese family of mother and son, played by a Chinese actress Zhu Zhu and child actor Matin Ray Tengu, comes to live in Laxman’s village. They both are Indian from nationality but their origin is Chinese. Laxman tries to harm them initially thinking they are enemies, but then he is reprimanded by his Baney Chaha, old guardian of Laxman played by Om Puri, for doing so. He asks Laxman to befriend this Chinese family following Gandhiji’s principles of friendship, love and peace with everyone. Despite everyone’s hatred he befriends them and defends them in front of attacks of some radical Indian fundamentalist in village. His strong determination and belief in the ideas of love, peace and friendship with everyone in the end coincides with the ending of Sino-India war and coming back of his brother from the war zone. Again, like Indians and Pakistanis, if there is a friendly relation between Indians and Chinese then people from both countries can live in peace and prosper together. Hatred and war only destroys lives. Our world can be a merrier place only when there is love and peace.
Tiger Zinda Hai again brings back India and Pakistan together as friends in a common battle against an evil in the guise of ISIS. ISIS fighters capture few Indian and Pakistani nurses in Iraqi hospital and Tiger is called back by RAW to free these Indian nurses. Tiger’s now wife Zoya is sent by ISI to free Pakistani nurses. When Tiger comes to know about this he makes this a joint RAW and ISI mission. Again, it is unthinkable that RAW and ISI can work together! They are always known as enemies. But Salman and his director does this unthinkable, and for good. Both Indian and Pakistani team then heroically goes on to free Indian and Pakistani nurses. The movie ends with a scene where both Indian and Pakistani national flags are flying together. The message of love, peace, friendship and humanity is again clear here.
These anti-war and pro-peace movies of Salman Khan are important because through such good ideas we can fight the battle against evil ideas of hatred and animosity that governments spread to divide and rule over us. A cultural penetration of ideas of peace and love is important to stop not only bloody wars but also to build a world full of harmony and prosperity. I just wish that not only Salman Khan but Bollywood as a whole tries to harmonize relations with everyone, via such anti-war movies, so there can be peace and prosperity not only in India but in Pakistan, China and everywhere else. A world full of hatred is not good for anyone. Only through love we can survive and thrive.