From Hollywood to Bollywood: The changing role of Muslims in film

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Information about From Hollywood to Bollywood: The changing role of Muslims in film

Published on October 1, 2008

Author: javedm

Source: slideshare.net

Description

This is Part2 of the Muslims and Media presentation. It's focus is on a little history and the changes that have taken place in depiction of Muslims in Hollywood and Bollywood.

From to The changing roles of Muslims in film Javed Mohammed Writer-Producer Writer- k2film@live.com Muslims and Media Part 2 Changing the world one story at a time Copyright 2008

Once upon a time in a land called Hollywood, they made dreams come true.

Or depending on your point of view brought nightmares

There were heroes

And their were villains Dracula

The Villains have varied over time: Indians

Nazis

Japanese

Sometimes Muslim villains The Shiekh Rudolph Valentino 1921

Generally Muslims were invisible in the early days

As were Muslim heroes

But the media was still mighty influential “The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Let’s fast forward

In the 80s & 90s films like these were the norm: Genre: Muslim Drama, Kidnapping, True Story, Betrayal, Tear Jerker, Suspense, Escape, Doctor, Spy, Hostage, Political Film used for diversity training and understanding

Not without my daughter: Tagline: “In 1984, Betty Mahmoody's husband took his wife and daughter to meet his family in Iran.” Film used for diversity training and understanding

Not without my daughter: Tagline: “He swore they would be safe.” Film used for diversity training and understanding

Not without my daughter: Tagline: “They would be free to leave.” Film used for diversity training and understanding

Not without my daughter: Tagline: “He lied.”

You won’t believe this but… This film was used for diversity training and understanding of Muslim culture

This was followed by Shoot em ups 1987

Billionaires, bombers, and belly dancers The Delta Force

Stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims quot;Arab (read Muslim) culture has been the most misunderstood and supplied with the worst stereotypesquot;: Scott J. Simon

Fast forward to Present

It’s not all bad There are positive changes taking place.

Azeem helps Robin Hood and fights the evil doers eventually saving his life. .

Courageous An Arab traveler helps a group of Scandinavian adventurers in a battle with a tribe of cannibalistic raiders.

More good stuff

Saladin and the Muslims Thoughtful, compassionate, respectful, brave and human leader.

So there is positive change taking place in Hollywood

I get the picture, what about

In Bollywood the story is similar but also different Muslims have had a small presence in Hindi film since the early days Dilip Kumar (real name Yusuf Khan) one of the top 3 actors of his time 1950s-60s

There have been many Muslim Bollywood heroines Waheeda Rahman Madhubala Mumtaz

Blockbuster director Directed by (Mehboob) and lead star a Muslim (Nargis)

To one of the greatest Indian Epic films Mughal-e-Azam: Directed by (K. Asif) and lead staring couple Muslims (Dilip Kumar and Madhubala)

Fast forward to today: Some of the lead male stars are the Khans Shah Rukh Khan Aamir Khan Salman Khan

But its not all good! The heroines are gone, the Khans are fading, and there is a strong theme of nationalism in films.

The Role of minorities has been stereotyped Gabbar Singh in Sholay

Muslim character portrayal has been either timid

Or violent

Or Promiscuous

Story of Indian partition: reduced to Romance and Rambo Gadar: A blockbuster where a Sikh hero rescues Muslim damsel during riots, fall in love And then goes to rescue her from evil Pakistani Muslims.

Bollywood is secular but it still has its religious motifs in every film

Worship

Marriage

And death

Every culture promotes it’s History Beliefs Heroes Values Norms Attitude

But where is the Muslim narrative? Whose telling your stories, history, values?

As I said it’s not all bad We, collectively are responsible: It starts with education Taking ownership Ends with action.

Spike Lee “I'm just trying to tell a good story and make thought- provoking, entertaining films. I just try and draw upon the great culture we have as a people, from music, novels, the streets.”

Mahatma Ghandi said

What change will you make?

Reference All images are used under “fair use” and obtained from the public domain. They are the property of the respective copyright holders. Please Note: I started to keep track of sources but it became too cumbersome.

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