Tu hindu banega na musalmaan banegaa
insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega
(You’ll become neither Hindu nor Muslim
You are the child of a human; you’ll become a human)
This song from Yash Chopra’s hit film DHOOL KA PHOOL captures the essence of Indian cinema, where religion, caste and hatred has no place and all live in harmony.
Amitabh Bachchan, who inaugurated the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), in his speech, emphasized on this core value of Indian cinema, in connection to the growing intolerance in the country. He said, “Since the inception Indian cinema has preached communal harmony and brotherhood through its movies.”
He added, “Today when the nation has gone haywire and cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities dividing the world I think it is important to take lessons of equality and cultural diversity from Indian movies.”
Recalling Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s poem ‘Where the Mind Is without Fear’ Bachchan called upon to remember the lines:
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments; By narrow domestic walls…. thus signifying that ‘Mother India’s love is unconditional for every citizen and holding together India’s diversity and the spirit of equality is our duty.”
Though the nation may have got carried away by the communal hatred speeches of fundamentalist leaders and politicians but Indian cinema has never lost its roots.
Be it Bollywood or regional cinema a look at Indian movies reveals that Indian filmmakers have always abided by Tagore’s vision of a united and secular India.
Hence the lead character in most films may be Hindu but he is always supported by a loyal friend, mostly a Muslim, who is ready to sacrifice his life for his Hindu friend.
Remember the devoted Pathan, Amjad Ali Khan (Played by Shah Rukh Khan) in Kamal Hassan’s HEY RAM (2000) who sacrifices his life to save Hindus on the eve of the Partition of India, 1947 or Sher Khan (Played by Pran) in ZANJEER (1973), who comes to the rescue of his friend Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) or the emotional character of the blind Rahim Chacha (Played by A.K.Hangal), in SHOLAY (1975) who instead of shedding tears on the death of his young and only son calls upon the villagers to fight the dreaded dacoit Gabbar Singh.
In nutshell the nation really seeks to take lesson on communal harmony and brotherhood from films as suggested by Mr. Bachchan.