PK: The name itself tells its ISI

PK, Bollywood, ISI, Aamir Khan, Shiv, Hindu, Idol,

Amir Khan’s PK has come into a lot of flak internally from extemist hindu outfits for its portrayal of corrupt ‘Godmen’ – or figures of religious authority.

Which is ironic in a way.

The movie’s message is all about how these religious figures exploit the faith of innocent believers for political and financial gains. With this region being particularly corrupt, it would be naive to believe religion has escaped the lust of power and money.

Paralles can be found in Pakistan too unfortuantely. We have our fair share of Rent-a-fatwa Ulema, ready to dig out and misquote religious texts to justify anything from illegally occupying govt property, to the mass killings of our own citizens.

On both sides of the border, those who speak out against such charlatans and con artists are labelled as infidels, often leading to mob justice which ofcourse goes unaccounted for due to the incompetence and corruption of our law enforcement.

The reaction in India is ironic as this is exactly what the movie warns about. These fanatics hold immeasurable power in our societies; the power to influence optinions, to inflame tensions, to literally cause riots. A movie comes out to educate people to learn to recognize these crooks, and immediately the outrage machinery comes into full effect. Mobs chanting death to Amir Khan, calling for a ban on the movie, demanding apologies.

And then there’s the Love Jihad angle. Its all good when Veer lusts after Zaara or when Zeba Bakhtiar as ‘Henna’ chases Rishi Kapoor accross the border. But the moment real life conflicts with bollywood fantasies and Sania marries Shoaib or Zeenat Aman goes crazy over Imran Khan, Indian sensibilities and ‘ghairat’ goes into overdrive. The fact that the movie not only portrays Pakistanis as normal people (not villains), and the movie’s heroine Jaggu falls head over heels in love with a Pakistani boyo Sarfaraz, is too much for them to swallow. And it doesn’t end there. Had the Pakistani boy stayed true to the stereotype and betrayed Jaggu (as Tapasvi, the godman so smugly predicts ‘Ye log hamesha dhoka hi dete hain’) there woulnd’t have been the hue and cry we’re witnessing today. Its the fact that he turned out to be a normal guy who was only separated from Jaggu due to a miunderstanding, that has become such a bitter pill to swallow.

The message that the movie sends is a brave one. Kudos to Amir Khan for taking it on head on. However it is a crying shame that the lesson the movie aims to teach has fallen on deaf ears and those that it aimed to liberate are the ones up in arms, setting alight theatres and tearing down posters at the command of an impostor dressed in religious garb sitting comfortably in his armchair and smiling quietly to himself.

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is an editor and analyst at – writing on Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Dan also writes for the defense and security journal Fortress Magazine, published out of Karachi, Pakistan, and is a senior research fellow at the Pakistan Institute of Strategic Affairs.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. @Dan Qayyum

    I am a Hindu.. And I liked the movie a lot.. And I don’t give a damn about Love Jihad either. I celebrate love more than religion, quiet frankly bcos god is love.

    Don’t try to think that acts by a few fanatics is the reflection of the entire Hindu population. It is such prejudiced minds such as yours in both the countries that cause all these tensions.

    I don’t care if this is published. I know at least the moderator will read this. 🙂

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