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Of guns and roses

Here’s a look at films that dealt with the sensitive subject of terrorism, effectively or otherwise

Time and again, movies have turned to real-life for inspiration. A case in point would be the celluloid depiction of terrorism. A threat that looms large across the world, Bollywood has dealt with this subject through many films in the recent past. So even as Hasnain Hyderabadwala’s Ya Rab releases this Friday, HitList takes a look at films that have similarly thrown light on this subject.

'Kurbaan' (2009)
'Kurbaan' (2009)

Director: Rensil D’Silva
Storyline: The handsome protagonist of this high-on-thrill-low-on-content crime drama wants to blow up a train but is torn between his violent ideology and his love for a former professor. As the story moves forward, the characters fall victim to clichés. In the end, he pays a price for not making up his mind in time.

'Fiza' (2000)
'Fiza' (2000)

Director: Khalid Mohamed
Storyline: In this film — his second one after the hugely successful Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai — Hrithik Roshan played a terrorist. His role is that of a Muslim youth who has strayed off course in the aftermath of the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai. Though the film tanked at the box-office, he, along with Karisma Kapoor, delivered a memorable performance.

'A Wednesday' (2008)
'A Wednesday' (2008)

Director: Neeraj Pandey
Storyline: Undoubtedly one of the few most gripping terror dramas to ever come out of the Bollywood stable, it shows an aam aadmi (portrayed brilliantly by Naseeruddin Shah) dealing with terrorism in his own way, and all because he is fed up with the administration’s apathy towards the recurring train blasts in Mumbai.

'Aamir' (2008)
'Aamir' (2008)

Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Storyline: One of the most impactful directorial debuts in recent memory, Aamir sees an ordinary man (Rajeev Khandelwal) gradually getting drawn out of his mundane life as he is made to face an extraordinary situation. The protagonist has nothing to do with terrorism or the impending bomb blast but he’s forced to be the moral compass. The well-stitched screenplay works wonders for this film.

'Mission Kashmir' (2000)
'Mission Kashmir' (2000)

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Storyline: Hrithik Roshan once again plays a terrorist-by-accident in this beautifully shot thriller set in Kashmir. Unaware of the manipulations by an Afghan terrorist (Jackie Shroff), Hrithik helps blow up a signal tower and commits other such high-octane crimes just to avenge the death of his family that has been murdered by his would-be-foster father (played by Sanjay Dutt).

'New York' (2009)
'New York' (2009)

Director: Kabir Khan
Storyline: This love triangle featured John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh in lead roles and also saw Nawazuddin Siddiqui make a mark despite his relatively smaller role. Centred around the mistreatment of Indian Muslims in the US post-9/11, the film spoke about the adverse effects of the cruel ‘rendition policy’ adopted by the American government.

'Agent Vinod' (2012)
'Agent Vinod' (2012)

Director: Sriram Raghavan
Storyline: Like D-Day and Ek Tha Tiger, this spy thriller also dealt with terrorism. However, it didn’t scratch beneath the surface and remained a superficial effort. Instead, the film ended up being a grand showcase for Saif Ali Khan and his gadgets.

'Tere Bin Laden' (2010)
'Tere Bin Laden' (2010)

Director: Abhishek Sharma
Storyline: Nothing beats prejudice like humour. This satire, starring Ali Zafar and Pradhuman Singh, sent the message across effectively. The admirable part being that the movie did so without being preachy. They simply dwelt on the changing dynamics of a world that has misunderstood a religion.

'My Name is Khan' (2010)
'My Name is Khan' (2010)

Director: Karan Johar
Storyline: This blockbuster had its share of controversies back home as the film threw light on rampant Islamophobia in the West. The film had Shah Rukh Khan play a guy who is mistaken for a terrorist because of his faith.

'Fanaa' (2006)
'Fanaa' (2006)

Director: Kunal Kohli
Storyline: Aamir Khan effortlessly essays an imposter in this love story between a terrorist and a blind girl (played by Kajol). Set against the backdrop of Kashmir, the film may not necessarily evoke sympathy for the protagonist, but his beliefs are explained in detail.

'Vishwaroop' (2013)
'Vishwaroop' (2013)

Director: Kamal Haasan
Storyline: Originally made in Tamil, even before this film opened in theatres, it ran into trouble in South India. Rahul Bose plays the bearded villain against Kamal Hassan’s clean-shaven hero. Although handled sensitively enough, the story did raise questions related to Islamophobia.

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Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, known for his outspoken stance on sensitive issues including Islamophobia and terrorism, has come out strongly in support of films like Ya Rab.

Mahesh Bhatt
Mahesh Bhatt

“Ya Rab has been approved by the Tribunal of India but it is sad that as filmmakers, we have to run from pillar to post even after following the due process of law to release a film like this as there are too many preconceived notions,” says Bhatt, who is also representing the film.

Pakistani actor Manzar Sehbai (of Bol and Zinda Bhaag fame) and Ajaz Khan star in Ya Rab
Pakistani actor Manzar Sehbai (of 'Bol' and 'Zinda Bhaag' fame) and Ajaz Khan star in 'Ya Rab'

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