The significance of cinema in a state apparatus has grown critical and complex in the wake of the war on terror and the accompanying fifth generation warfare. The patterns of relationship between the entertainment industry of a country and its sociopolitical foregrounds are something that need no further elaboration.
Films and other forms of art obviously affect the thought process of masses, and the opposite is also true. In the situation developing post-Pulwama attack by Kashmiri freedom fighters, arch-rivals India and Pakistan are at loggerheads, again, and cinema invariably is here to express its impact on the current events.
Sherdil Enters the Party
Just today, the teaser of Pakistan’s air force action-drama film, Sherdil, was released, and it further augments the above case.
Where on the one hand the local cinemas will be needing more and more films in the absence of Indian films, the time-sensitive nature of the content which Pakistani cinema produces also becomes essential. That’s where movies like Project Ghazi and Sherdil become relevant.
While Project Ghazi in its teasers and trailers hasn’t directly given any reference to India or its military and instead plays on a general theme of patriotism, Sherdil goes all out in that regard.
The roughly 90-second teaser of the film featuring Mekal Zulfiqar and Hassan Niazi in pivotal roles, has some obvious and direct mentions of India and its air force. The trailer opens with a scene depicting the war of 1965 and then follows characters where they indulge in confrontations while performing their duties and overcoming various challenges.
Capitalising the Current Situation
What’s interesting about the film is the smart way the filmmakers seem to be capitalizing on the ongoing Indo-Pak tensions, a phenomenon which isn’t something rare in global cinema in general and Indian cinema in particular.
Whenever there is any escalation between India and Pakistan, Bollywood always comes up with jingoistic films where they try to fortify their government’s political narrative. The prominent examples being Border in 1998 atomic tests, LOC Kargil, Lakshya, etc. during Kargil War and Uri after Uri attacks by Kashmiri freedom fighters.
As for Sherdil, there could not have been a better time for the teaser to unravel.
Amid all the heat between India and Pakistan after Pulwama Attack, Sherdil will perfectly stir up the emotions of the patriots and enthusiastic masses, who will hopefully flock to cinemas for this.
Where Project Ghazi seems like a flick catering to classes, Sherdil may be targeting masses.
Having said that, it’s not just the patriotic element which ensures a film’s box office success, at least not in the long-run. Both, Project Ghazi and Sherdil, like any other film, have to be well-made products while the jingoism needs to be subtly woven into the fabric without overpowering the entertainment value.