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Last Updated Friday November 15 2019 10:40 PM IST

Behind the daily dose of box office patriotism

Prem Udayabhanu
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Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

There is a clamor to stop the release of a Bollywood movie, Ae Dil Hai Muhskil, which features a Pakistani actor.

The argument is that as ties between India and Pakistan have touched a nadir, actors from across the border should not be engaged by our filmmakers.

Also read: India comes first, won't engage with Pak talent in future: Karan Johar

The government on its part has said there is no official ban on the movie, but it is anybody's guess that a lobby that espouses rabid right-wing causes has actually played a part in this.

And it is no secret that such movements fomenting trouble and hatred have been on the rise ever since the BJP-led NDA government assumed power.

Also read: Exhibitors say no to films with Pak actors, Karan Johar in trouble

A probable reason for this is the center's tacit support for hardline nationalistic jingoism, which has been exploited to the hilt by political parties in general and the BJP in particular.

This is exactly the line of thinking that prompts incidents like the one in which a wheelchair bound disability activist was heckled in a theatre in Goa ealier this week for not standing up when national anthem was played.

The most unsavory off-shoot of the present overdose of hyper nationalism sweeping the country, or rather being subtly injected into the psyche, is that the filmmaker in question has come forth to explain his position and even went to the extent of saying that Pak actors would not be engaged anymore.

The controversial film's teasers would also blackout the Pak actor, we are told.

Art may not have boundaries, but countries have, according to a

union minister.

Sorry, but this ain't about art and nor is it about boundaries.

This is sheer trumpeting of nationalistic jingoism in disguise, and everyone knows who stands to gain most from it.

Now, a BJP ideologue says we can't have a daily patriotism test.

That makes sense, but when such contrasting voices are coming from the same platform that espouses cultural nationalism, it only helps to sow the seeds of confusion. That is an ideal scenario to unleash wanton acts of destruction.

As a nation, we seem to be mixing up patriotism with jingoism. And our filmmakers seem to be crawling when asked to bend.

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