The news that Mr.S.Rukh Khan was detained at the US airport stirred open the dormant thoughts about the art Industry of India in general and film Industry in particular.
National Geographic did an article a while back about Indian film industry and mentioned about the stardom of Shah Rukh Khan. The author seemed genuinely surprised that a Muslim actor can be such a big star in Hindu India. The Journalist has his reasons for surprise because such a thing is a thing that cannot happen in a Christian Majority Hollywood. The closest Hollywood had of a Muslim actor was the Franco-Arabic actor, Mr. Omar Sharif who played in movies like The Ten Commandments, Parole officer, & Censor. The other area where Muslims Heroes come onto screen often is on the Comedy networks of American television where their revolutionary leader Mr. Osama Bin Laden is battered, comically on video games, cartoon series, and late night comedy shows.
How well are Indian Muslims represented in the world of Films, Art & entertainment in India? Its doesn’t take much research to reel our the top names,
1) Mr.Yusuf Khan (Dilip Kumar),2)Mr.Shah Rukh Khan,3)Mr.Aamir Khan,4) Mr.Salman Khan, 5) Mr.Saif Ali Khan, 6) Ms.Mumtaz Begum Jehan Dehlavi (Madhubala),7) Ms.Katrina Kaif, 8) Mr.Emraan Hashmi, 9) Mr.Naseeruddin Shah,10) Ms.Shabana Azmi, 11)Ms.Waheeda Rehman, 12)Mr.Irrfan Khan,13) Ms.Farida Jalal,14) Mr.Arshad Warsi,15) Mr.Mehmood,16) Ms.Zeenat Aman, 17) Mr.Farooq Sheik,18) Ms.Tabu ,19) Mr.Resul Pookutty, 20)Mr.A.R.Rehman, 21) Mr.Javed Akhtar,22)Ms.Mahajabeen ( Meena Kumari), 23)Mr. Badrudin Kazi ( Johnny walker), 24) Ms.Farah Khan. In Arts & Music we have Mr.Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Mr.Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Mr.Ustad Bismillah Khan, Mr.Zakir Hussain. & the of course the greatest painter of all times Mr.M.F.Hussein.
The above were not artists who did minor roles and vanished into the dust cans of the film Industry. Most of the above were and still are A list stars of Indian film Industry.
What explains the success of Muslims in the Indian film Industry when the same cannot be said of Hollywood? The sweet truth which most secularists and even Muslims want to deny is, “Indians who are 85 % Hindus are not discriminatory against Muslim talent”. Hindus are open and friendly and welcome art and talent in any form. That nature has been a part of their thinking and psychology and it’s due to the nature of the spiritual teachings of Hinduism which has always welcomed guests and tolerates their activities with the highest of respect. In almost all Indian languages with minor modifications the same mantra is repeated that a guest has to be accorded the highest of respect. That thought has over thousands of years percolated and attached itself to the psyche of every Hindu who is living and walking on earth. Most hindus have taken that mantra it to a new higher level and today treating guests with the utmost respect even if it is at the cost of their self-respect seems an publicly acceptable behavior.
So when a poem is rendered by Muslim poet, Indians saw the beauty of the poetry and not the faith behind it. When a painter drew a painting the majority strained enough to see the esthetic beauty in it rather then the underlying message.This generosity of Hindu culture enabled a creative outpouring of Muslim Talent in India. Not only did their talent get a flow freely, it got enriched further by the spirit of Hinduism. You would notice a strong Hindu influence in many a brilliant work of Muslim art / music / dance / literature and most importantly cinema. Quite a few muslim artists merged their identity with a Hindu mask so that they are well received by the majority.The result was that Muslim talent in India produced such fine works of poetry, film, art, paining, dance and music. Their talent blossomed. Not only was there discrimination of any kind (secularists of India often confuse politics in entertainment to discrimination) but on the other hand Muslim talent was encouraged, their performances were cheered, they were honored and rewarded. Its obvious to any unbiased observer that Muslim talent hasn’t exploded even in Muslim majority countries.That includes even India’s neighbor aka the most peaceful & friendly nation on Earth Mr. Pakistan.
The question then arises, how did the Muslim Artists responded to the kindness / adulation / fame and money which has been uninhibitedly bestowed on them. Were they successful in reciprocated with equal magnanimity? Let’s look at a few examples,
Example 1: Mafia in Indian film Industry: Even slum dog kids in India know that the Indian Film industry in particular the one that is often referred to as Bollywood is under the firm grip of mafia. We present below an excerpt from the Independent UK,
The underworld recognized the potential of Bollywood not only as a money spinner – foreign distribution rights and music soundtracks bring in a lot of money – but also as a money-laundering vehicle. Gangsters entered the trade with the expectation of turning a tidy profit as well as conveniently laundering a few bales of cash from drug-dealing and extortion. They brought their habits with them. Reports circulated of extortion and threats against many of the big box-office actors whom the dons wanted in the movies where they had channeled their money.
The most notable Mafia to rule the Indian film Industry is the great Dawood Ibrahim. He was on the list of the wanted men which India submitted to pakistan.Its strongly believed that is been given a safe house in Pakistan. To the credit of Pakistan it has to be acknowledged that it doesn’t restrict itself to harboring terrorists. It also offer’s protection and safe home for any one who has an anti-India agenda. Other famous mafia names who used to appear in newspapers were, Mr.Haji Mastan, Mr.Abu Salem, Mr.Chotta Rajan, Mr.Chotta Shakeel, Mr .Mohammad Ali Hussain Sheikh ,Mr.Rauf Dawood Merchant,Mr.Ali Budeshi.
Most film production companies in the west are big corporations like Paramount, Warner Bros, Sony to name a few. In India however most are family owned businesses with a few independent producers too. Reports talk of the difficulties that are faced by film producers in India. If they don’t co-operate with the Mafia they get what is known as the “Mid-night call”(an euphemism for a call from the mafia)If they co-operate they fall foul of the law ( Mr.Bharat Shah and Mr.Sanjay Dutt). Indian film producers / Industry is caught between the devil and the deep sea. The devil in this case being the mafia and the honors for deep sea goes rightfully to the Government of India. We wonder how many government’s in the world would have abandoned their film industry to slip into the hands of mafia as the government of India has done.
Over the years the politics of entertainment and competition between them, took a religious angle. Quite a few Hindu film makers were targeted and some of them executed in a chilling way. One of them was Mr.Gulshan Kumar, who made a fortune from Bollywood sound tracks. His was a rag’s to riches story and led a flamboyant life style that is quite normal to someone who has acquired sudden fame. He was also belligerent to the extent of defying the mafia. He was shot dead as he was leaving a temple after his daily morning prayers. It was a tragic killing. Chased on the streets of Mumbai and fell to the bullets of the Mafia in a toilet. He was a devout Hindu and contributed to Hindu religious activities. It was also meant to affirm Muslim strong muscle over Hindi / Hindu Film Industry.
Another famous assassination attempt that failed was that of Mr.Rakesh Roshan dad of the super star Hrithik. Were muslim actors not targeted by the mafia? We know one report that Mr.Shah Rukh Khan himself got a call from the mafia for not doing enough to promote Islam through films.
The related bonus which the mafia gets is their ability to spend quality time with the many beautiful women of Indian film world.That is double agony for a Hindu who has a strong sense of history.
Example 2: Javed Akhtar & Art of Living Foundation: Why would India Today a respected News magazine organize a conclave with a title,” Spiritualism halo or hoax”? Was it referring to Hindu spiritualism or spiritualism in general. But then what happened was an “intellectual encounter” between Mr.Javed Akhtar the “lyricist” of many a movie ( & husband of Ms.Shabana Azmi). Mr.Javed akhtar stepped up onto the podium after Sri Ravishankar and started a speech by calling himself an atheist. He automatically acquired a mask of being a secular. Hiding behind those twin masks he unleashed a tirade. We quote a from Sri Ravishankar’s write up, Mr Akhtar thundered again: “All modern-day spiritualists are hypocrites”. Many people froze as he dismissed the present-day gurus.Today there are millions of people who follow spirituality: are they all hypocrites? I appreciated that he could express his feelings boldly, without pretension. But the contempt that was exhibited for gurus was alarming. The hatred and frustration were obvious from his body language.” The question is would a muslim artist in USA would ever have the platform to criticize even a pastor from a small town church? Then how does one justify this kind of hatred which Mr.Javed Akhtar delivered on a public platform under the guise of being an atheist?
Example 3: Aamir Khan & the Kashmiri pundits: Activism for a social cause forms a part of the career of many a actor / entertainer. Some do it for a genuine cause and spend lakhs and crores of their hard earned money for such causes. Notable examples in Hollywood include the power couple Angelina & Brad pit. Some other entertainers do it for just that purpose, Entertainment. Such acts are timed to the release of their movies and serve as a great advertisement tool for their movies. Just around the release of his movie “Faana” Mr.Aamir Khan was gracious enough to lend his voice and time for the Narmada Bachao Andolan. The on the surface objective was to show solidarity with people who were evicted from their lands. Behind the smokescreen was an opportunity to throw a jab at who else Mr.Narendra Modi. When Mr Khan’s move backfired he immediately switched tracks and announced that he would support the Kashmiri pundits. Many a Kashmir pundit is waiting to hear what kind of concrete support he has offered. They are waiting to honour him and acknowledge his gracious support, that is when ever it comes!! The question is he did not hesitate a moment before jumping on the bandwagon of the narmada bachao andolan and take a swipe at one of the most popular Hindu leaders but started sulking when it came to keep his promise of supporting the kashmiri pundits cause. Is it because Kashmir pundits are Hindus?
Example 4: Down south,Kushboo Khan & her contempt: Down Over south of India and in the state of Tamilnadu, quite a few actresses have made their career playing “God” on screen. This includes the former actress K.R vijaya who played the role of Goddess Kali. She carried herself with dignity and endeared herself to the public of Tamilnadu.
The same privilege was extended to another recent actress Ms.Kushboo Khan. She started thinking that it was real and reciprocated the only way she could. In a direct assault on the sentiments of Hindus who do not pray with shoes on, she seated herself with her shoes on with the idols of the Gods at a public function. You may note that the broad minded hindus did not have any reservation in giving a role of a Hindu god to a muslim actress.
Ms.Kushboo Khan with her slippers on before Indian Deities.
Plain straight disrespect and contempt for Hindus.
Would she dare to do anything of similiar nature that would offend Muslim sentiments. Had she done such a thing we speculate that by this time she would have been roasted fine by her community members. However in Tamilnadu which is being ruled by an atheist chief minister not only did she get away but was also offered a reward. She is now the head of some entertainment related organization.
Cine Actress Ms.Kushboo Khan with Atheist Chief
Minister of Tamil Nadu Mr.Karunanidhi
Example 5: M.F.Hussein & his works of “Art”: Mr.Hussien is a painter with a distinct style which is both simplistic and bold. He started off his career simple and clean with some good and non-controversial works of art. His work was acknowledged and was honored with many national awards. Then it happened. He acquired a new taste .Nudity. What he favors is painted fully clothed and what he dosen’t is painted nude. He found it difficult to resist the temptation of taking a swipe at the faith of the majority of his countrymen. So he did it, painted Hindu gods in Nude. There are too many of those paintings and it was his way of reciprocating the respect, fame, accolade and honour that was bestowed upon him by a Hindu majority India. How could any one do such a thing is only for him to answer. A sample of his paintings is re-produced below. Many Hindu organizations reacted with anger. He now lives in exile in UK. Is it an interesting co-incidence that the alleged conspirators in the Killing of the Hindu Music king Mr.Gulshan Kumar, have also been given political asylum in UK. The irony is that Mr.Husseins paintings got a real boost in the western art market post anti-Hindu paintings. The role of the west in providing soft support to anti-Hindu works has to be discussed.
The hero of this article: Mr.Shah Rukh Khan detention may have more to do with his sense of cockiness & bravado which he always carries around with him. It must have irked the airport security. Obviously they don’t know that he is into the charmed circle of the political powers in India. Certain things about this Mr.Khan are real interesting. Ms. Priyanka daughter of the congress president has declared that she is a great fan of Mr. Khan. She flew down to Mumbai for a private family dinner with Mr.Khan and we read a little later that Mr.Khan was presented with a National award. National awards decided on tables of private family dinners? She later went to cheer to the cricket team which Mr.Khan owned. Quite interesting right? But in defense of US airport security, what they did was simple, “doing a good security job”.There hasn’t been a single terrorist attack post 9/11 in US. Wonder when will India learn to do what US is doing so successfully.
The growth of muslim talent has always been dependent on Hindu support in all forms. It dosent mean the dependence is 100 %. Take the example of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His songs are mesmeric. The word “Allah” is said many times. But it is pleasant and does not in any way disturb us. The problem arises when disturbed Muslims try to nudge, tease, elbow, and irk us by taking a deliberately offensive stance against Hindus.
There are however sane voices. In spite of his reputation as a brash artist, Mr.Salman Khan did something which spoke of his maturity. He has endeared himself to the Hindu community by celebrating the Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi at his home. Whether it was political act or genuine bhakthi it dosent matter. He has demonstrated simple courtesy and respect which is expected.
Undercurrent congragulates Mr.Salman Khan.