Since the dramatic events of September 11, Bollywood films have shown an unusual interest in the terrorist film genre, especially in terms of international terrorism and global tensions between Islam and the West. Striking examples of this genre include Kabir Khan's New York (2008), Karan Johar's My Name is Khan (2010), Rensil D'Silvas Kurbaan (2009) and Apoorva Lakhia's Mission Istanbul, to name a few. Films such as Anil Sharma's Ab Tumhare Hawale Watam Sathiyo (2004) and Subhash Ghai's Black and White (2008) focus on terror issues within the Indian subcontinent. The latter films remain in the tradition of pre-9/11 terrorist films such as Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir (2000), Mani Ratnam's Dil Se (1998) and Bombay (1995). Ratnam's Bombay dealt with the devastating Hindu and Muslim riots of 1991 that claimed more than 1,000 lives. Chopra's Mission Kashmir dealt with a scenario of local terrorist activity in the Kashmir region sponsored by international terrorist cells operating from Afghanistan. In this way, the terrorist genre is not a completely new genre in Bollywood, nor is terrorism an unknown phenomenon in the daily activities of the Indian subcontinent (the most recent and brutal terrorist attack was the massacre in Mumbai in 2008). What makes these recently exciting terror films interesting is that they have entered the global sphere and have become part of a transnational dialogue between East and West and Islam and the other.

To make the terror genre more palatable, Bollywood has traditionally spiced up the violence and suspense with the distinctive Bollywood song and dance play and sentimental romantic exchange between the hero and heroine. Mission Kashmir is notorious for its graceful dances and arousing emotional exchanges between the main protagonists, played on the violent backdrop of terrorism in Kashmir. Mani Ratnam's Bombay also mixes the most brutal scenes of Hindu and Muslim hatred and violence with delicious comedy and a forbidden love affair between a pious Muslim girl and a boy from a high-ranking Shaivite Hindu family. His father is the curator of the village temple, and both family patriarchs are vehemently opposed to the children marrying outside their caste and religious communities.

Karan Johars my name is Khan

Following the Bollywood tradition of mixing genres (known in the industry as the masala or the spicy recipe film), Karan Johar's My Name is Khan mixes comedy and romance with the political hot potato of bigotry and racial hatred after the United States on 9 September. The film's theme of ultra-nationalist extremism culminates in the senseless killing of a young Indian boy, Sam or Sameer, who has been killed by young people on the football field, in part due to the adoption of his stepfather's name Khan. Overflowing streams of emotion and heart touching romantic songs, such as the mix of 1960s counterculture song "We Shall Overcome" (sung in both Hindi and English), appear throughout the film to both ease the excitement and exemplify the presence of light and hope in a world darkened by the bitter shadow of global terrorism. The fact that the central protagonist Rizvan Khan is a devout Muslim and politically neutral to the hysteria of the debate is important. Raised by his mother that there are no fixed brands like Hindus and Muslims, but only good and bad people, Rizvan Khan freely practices his religion with equal love and respect for all other races and faiths, only distinguishing between what is in the hearts and minds of the people, not to what religion they profess, or to what race, culture, and nationality they belong.

My name is Khan is also important to Bollywood fans as it reunites the biggest heart-pounding couple of Hindi cinema from previous decades, Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan. The duo were previously paired in two of Karan Johar's previous card games Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1995) and Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham (2001). Both of these films were sentimental gushy romance, literally overflowing with juicy outflows of emotions and feelings; a phenomenon called rasa in India. The song and dance sequences were also staged in great detail and combined a balance between traditional Indian music and dance forms (Hindustani music and traditional folk dances) as well as modern western forms. This ensured the huge popularity of the film in both India and diaspora countries like Canada, USA and UK for more information click here

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Bollywood After 9/11 - The Depiction of Islam and the West in Indian Cinema