Throwback to the terror: Bollywood films that are based on 9/11

Sep 11, 2015, 08:34 IST | Ria Lawrence

As memories of the cataclysmic 9/11 attacks come hurtling back today, we take a look at films that offered an engaging perspective on the tragedy and its far-reaching effects...

The horrific events of 9/11 have inspired a clutch of filmmakers to document the US the way it looked in the wake of the terror attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The tragedy, till date, remains a wound of massive proportions in the collective memory of humanity and is also one of the most sinister and cold-blooded acts of terrorism the world has seen. Using it as a backdrop, Bollywood has explored various facets of that fateful day.

 Shah Rukh Khan in a still from My Name Is Khan (2010) which had the 9/11 attacks as its backdrop
Shah Rukh Khan in a still from 'My Name Is Khan' (2010) which had the 9/11 attacks as its backdrop

Fourteen years hence, hitlist recalls some cinematic portraits of the events that took place on and after September 11, 2001...

'Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota – What If' (2006)
Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota – What If (2006)
This was Bollywood's first attempt at depicting the 9/11 tragedy. Directed by Naseeruddin Shah, the film had a stellar cast in the form of Konkana Sen Sharma, Irrfan, Jimmy Sheirgill and Boman Irani among others. It revolved around a group of people from various parts of India travelling to the States when their plane gets hijacked and crashes into the Twin Towers. Although an ambitious attempt and packed with potential, the film didn't quite go the distance.

'Kurbaan' (2009)
Kurbaan (2009)
The movie dealt with the life of a woman married into a Muslim family involved in terrorist attacks and the ordeal she goes through thereafter. The movie, though compelling, met with mixed reviews. Besides, by the time it released, several hard-hitting films on similar lines had already been made, which watered down its impact.

'New York' (2009)
New York (2009)
It was a story of three friends, portrayed by John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh, and their changing equation post the attacks, courtesy the stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims. The film was well received both critically and commercially and was the sixth highest grossing film of 2009.

'My Name Is Khan' (2010)
My Name Is Khan (2010)
Karan Johar's film on an autistic man caught up in a personal tragedy following the 9/11 attacks and subsequent alienation of Muslims was a sensitive portrayal of what it must have been like to be a Muslim living in the States at that point. While the movie veered towards melodrama towards the second half, it did leave everyone feeling warm.

'I am Singh' (2011)
I am Singh (2011)
The Puneet Singh film explored the life of Sikh immigrants in the US post the 9/11 attacks. The movie brings to light the fight of the Sikh residents against prejudice and their unfaltering faith in the judiciary. Contrary to what one would expect out of such a sensitive issue, the movie failed to evoke any emotion from the viewers.

Worth a mention

These three Hollywood films also made an impact:
'Fahrenheit 9/11' (2004)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
This clever movie is a piece of humour-based connect-the-dots investigative journalism which questions the presidency of George W Bush, the war on terror and its coverage in the news media. Revolving around the political ambience both before and after the attacks, it poignantly captured the paranoia after the 9/11 events and how it was channelised in every wrong way possible by politicians.

'Zero Dark Thirty' (2012)
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

This action thriller is based on how an elite team of US intelligence and military operatives, working clandestinely across the globe, carry out “the biggest manhunt” to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, the brain behind the 9/11 attacks. A US Central Intelligence Agency officer played by Jessica Chastain gathers all possible links and clues that takes the team a step closer to Osama. The movie received wide critical acclaim.

'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' (2013)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013)

This is a story of conflicting ideologies where perception and suspicion have the power to determine life or death. It depicts the life of a young Pakistani boy chasing his dreams on American soil, but gets arrested post 9/11 and is turned into a scapegoat.

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