AUSTIN SZABO WRITES – With explosions and non-stop action, Pakistan’s first action blockbuster, Waar, is making waves. Indians are less excited: they are the bad guys.
Reuters offered a summary of the movie: “Indian villains team up with Islamist militants to plot spectacular attacks across Pakistan. Pakistani security forces jump in and save the day.”
“Like any other action film, we wanted to show the triumph of good over evil”, said the director, Bilal Lashari, defending the movie’s story. The problem is, however, who the evil is. Many will say that the movie is harmless. The film features well-choreographed helicopter fight sequences and endless action. Waar (which means Strike) made a record breaking 11.4 million rupees on its opening night, according to the Hindustan times.
However, the movie and its making both betray a darker story. With Indian villains controlling Islamist terrorists, the movie plays to traditional points of contention between the two nations. “Of course India supports terrorism in Pakistan”, one woman said after watching the film. In one theater, the audience cheered as an Indian man was shot in the face repeatedly. While the movie may be as fun to watch as any Michael Bay movie, one can’t deny the effect such media has on political issues.
Even worse, the well made action scenes were made with assistance from the military, which holds immense power in Pakistan. “[The scenes] couldn’t have been done without the army,” concedes the director, proud of their assistance. With the most powerful political force in the country behind the making of the movie, and with rumors they funded it as well, one can’t doubt the movie contains propaganda, but Waar is far from the only one.
Vice has reported on the movies that the US military helped make, such as the Transformers movies, and Battleship. While Vice shows that the military only chooses to help movies that glorify it, The World Socialist catalogs many instances of military censorship in various movies, removing scenes to portray a cleaner image. Our guest contributor also locates propaganda in recent US movies such as Pacific Rim. Bollywood similarly produces movies with propaganda. The recent Bollywood hit Ek Tha Tiger uses romance, of course, in its anti-Pakistan message. In the movie, a Pakistani spy chooses to be with his Indian rival rather than complete his mission. The film never made it to Pakistan.
If American action films involving Russians are any indication, Waar is just the beginning.