After the Pulwama attack on 14th of February where 40 CRPF personnel were martyred, India performed an airstrike on supposed Jaish e Mohammed terrorist camps across the line of control in Kashmir, on 26th of February. An aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight after which wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman was held in captivity for over 60 hours by Pakistan. He was ultimately released as ‘a gesture of peace’. His homecoming was celebrated and the media created much hype about it. The citizens rejoiced too as he became a national hero. On the 4th of March, news came that a film will be made on the airstrike. Supposedly, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali will back the film in collaboration with Bhushan Kumar and Mahaveer Jain.
The movie will be directed by Abhishek Kapoor, who has helmed movies like Kedarnath, Fitoor and Kai Po Che. A number of A-list actors seemed to show interest in being part of the cast of the film. As soon as the news broke out people came forward and spoke against the idea. Twitterati wasn’t easy on the backlash. They didn’t refrain from making memes or mocking the filmmaker for this. And rightly so, just a week after the mission the film project was announced. The news is too new to be transferred to the celluloid.
With incomplete facts, figures, and knowledge of the situation, the idea could backfire in a huge manner. The movie aims to honor the Indian Armed Forces. Just because the story is fresh in the people’s minds doesn’t mean that they are ready to watch a full-blown movie on the same that dramatizes the events and doesn’t reveal the facts. Recently, it has become a trend to make films on the ongoing scenarios. These films usually fare well at the box office and in front of the critics. They are greatly appreciated by the audience which encourages the filmmakers to produce more such content. It is sometimes necessary to throw light on reality and increase awareness about scenarios, and topics we might not know about. But, some topics are best to remain untouched, for a while at least. Uri, a film based on the attack in Uri region of Kashmir & the subsequent surgical strike by the Indian Army in 2016, came out in early 2019. The movie starred Vicky Kaushal, Yami Gautam, and Mohit Raina in lead roles.
It portrayed a dramatized yet a tactical version of the events that ensued. The movie was received very well and instilled a sense of patriotism in the viewers. The josh was unbelievably high among the public following the release of the film. This josh increased among many after the Pulwama attacks as they called out for another surgical strike or a full out war. Warmongers like these sat behind their screens and called out the government and the army for taking action at the earliest, without thinking of the collective interest of the nation, and what goes on behind a war. It is not solely about movies related to war. These tactics have been used for a long time, especially with real issues. Filmmakers usually dramatize the situation to a greater extent so as to make it a tearjerker or just agitate the viewer. When a viewer feels those emotions personally, he tends to connect to the movie better and hence have a favorable response to it.
This is a great way to increase audience appeal and garner larger numbers at the box office. It is not just the contents of the movie that makes people sentimental but it often happens even before that. Sometimes, filmmakers announce movies on controversial issues or the theme is deemed controversial by people concerned or not. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat had sparked numerous controversies. From the burning of sets to death threats, the Rajput Karni Sena didn’t hold back in showing their anger. The movie was in news for quite a long time. It incurred support for both the parties. Not only were these incidents in news but politicians also got involved. Such instances infringe the making as well as the creative liberty of the film.
But, more often than not they become publicity stunts that ultimately work in favor of the film. People start sympathizing with the actors and director. Their curiosity is peaked because of the hype that is generated in the media. After several controversies, a name change, and a delayed release, Padmaavat still managed to be blockbuster. While these might just be a few examples, such things happen every day on a varying scale. Something that will stir up the emotions of the audience, before or during the film, often fancies them more. This fact is well known to the industry, which leaves no stone unturned to profit from it and cash in larger amounts for their films.