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Terror and the tinsel screen of Bollywood

Terror and the tinsel screen of Bollywood

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  27 Nov 2019 5:53 AM GMT

Today marks 11 years of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks — one of the most sordid chapters of modern Indian history. In 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba sneaked into Mumbai and gunned down over 160 people. Over the course of their attack, nine of them were killed while one — Mohammed Ajmal Kasab — was arrested and finally executed in November 2012.

Terrorism and nationalism have been themes that Bollywood filmmakers explore often. While most stories of terror on the Hindi screen are works of fiction based on real tragedies, very few have tried creating drama by documenting real incidents. Bollywood’s reluctance to portray reality without using actual names or situations is mostly an outcome of the industry’s trepidation over controversies. We take a look at the prominent films based on terrorism that Bollywood has churned out over the years.

KURBAAN (2009)

In this Karan Johar-produced thriller, a Hindu professor (Kareena Kapoor) marries a Muslim colleague (Saif Ali Khan) and they relocate in the US. Soon, the wife discovers their Muslim neighbours are terrorists, and her husband is not who he claims.

NEW YORK (2009)

The Kabir Khan film — starring John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh — tarces how the aftermath of 9/11 affects the bonds between three friends of different faiths. The film spoke of the ostracism that even innocent Muslims faced following the tragedy.


The 2008 release was toplined by Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher and Jimmy Sergill. Neeraj Pandey’s directorial debut, said to be based on a real incident, is about a man who calls the cops to informs them he’ll set off serial blasts in Mumbai unless four terrorists are set free.


Anurag Kashyap’s film released in 2007 after years of delay owing to various hassles. The film remains the definitive portrait of the investigations following the 1993 serial Bombay bomb blasts, narrated through the tales of police, terrorists, victims, and middlemen.

FANAA (2006)

Aamir Khan played a Jihadi who lives in disguise as a tourist guide in old Delhi, but has a nefarious secret motive that could spread widespread disaster. The blockbuster also starred Kajol and was directed by Kunal Kohli.

FIZA (2000)

Khalid Mohamed’s debut directorial feature cast Karisma Kapoor as a girl who sets out to track down her brother (Hrithik Roshan) who went missing during the Bombay riots of 1993, and who might have become joined forced with a terror outfit.

BOMBAY (1995)

The happy married life of a Hindu man and a Muslim woman, played Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala, and their twin kids, is threatened by the 1993 Mumbai riots in this gripping Mani Rathnam drama.

16 DECEMBER (2002)

On December 16, 1971, India won the war against Pakistan, liberating Bangladesh. In the fictional set-up of Mani Shaknar’s technically-glossy thriller, Pakistani Jihadis pick the date years later to attempt a nuclear explosion in Delhi .

DIL SE (1998)

A romantic tragedy set against the backdrop of terror, the Mani Rathnam film, starring Shah Rukh Khan, had Manisha Koirala essaying a suicide bomber. The film is more recalled for AR Rahman’s music and its spectacular cinematography.

MAACHIS (1996)

Gulzar’s film recounts the wave of terror in Punjab of the eighties, and traces how police brutality creates terrorists out of innocent youngsters. The film won Tabu her first National Award as Best Actress.

ROJA (1992)

The Mani Rathnam film was an absorbing drama set against the backdrop of terrorism. Madhu played a just-married Tamil bride whose husband (Arvind Swamy) is kidnapped by terrorists in Kashmir. In a daring gesture, she decides to go all the away and rescue her husband. (IANS)

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