NEW DELHI—The Indian media is abuzz with chatter about the film “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” (The Story of India), a film directed by a Hindu nationalist that was shot in Mumbai’s Muslim-dominated neighbourhood of Ghaziabad in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
In a scene where an actor (Jai Patel) describes how the Mumbai attacks were a “Muslim act of terror,” the film’s lead actress, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, portrays a Hindu who says she was raped by a Muslim man in the midst of the attack.
The scenes of violence and grief are echoed in a new film titled “Jai Kisan” (Journey of Myself) starring Amitabh Bachchan and Amitabhatta Rai Bachchans wife, Pranav.
“The film is a film of mourning for the victims,” said Rajesh Varma, a film-maker and writer who has written a book about the attacks, The Mumbai Attack: The Story of the Indian Tragedy.
“It’s an opportunity to reflect on the past, to reflect about our country’s history and to reflect more on what can be done to ensure that it never happens again.”
The film has been hailed as a triumph of patriotism, and its makers are set to release the film on April 11, 2018, the date of the Mumbai bombings, as a celebration of the nation’s unity.
But in an effort to show that it is a non-violent film, the film is devoid of violence.
Its makers have done what many filmmakers and film critics have struggled to do: They have made the film about the perpetrators of the attacks as well as their victims.
The film’s makers have also gone so far as to use the footage of the terrorist attacks to promote their message that India has an important role to play in the fight against terrorism.
While “Bhagat Mata ki Jai,” a film that celebrates the victims of the terror attacks, is being screened in the nation that has the world’s largest Muslim population, its makers have chosen to portray the perpetrators as “victims” and the victims as “terrorists.”
The movie is being made by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its political ally the Hindu Rashtra Samithi (HRSP), which has been pushing the country’s Hindu-majority communities to rally around its political agenda and push for more communal harmony.
While the film makes no mention of any Muslim perpetrators or any Muslim victims of terrorism, its filmmakers have chosen the most offensive language possible.
In an interview with the Times of India, Aashish Patel, the co-writer of the film, said that it was a movie to show the “unfathomable horror of what happened” to the Mumbai victims and to show how the country has “no interest” in reconciliation.
“They [the terrorists] are being portrayed as the villains, and that is what they deserve,” Patel told the Times.
“There’s no need for reconciliation.”
The Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (HRS) and other Hindu nationalist groups have long campaigned for a return to Hindu-dominated governance.
The Hindutva movement has often promoted the idea that Hindu nationalists are the true defenders of India’s values, as well.
Hindu nationalists have also used the film to justify their violent attacks against Muslims.
“When they see this movie, they’re not going to understand why we attacked the Muslims,” Patel said.
“What they are going to see is that this is an example of how they [the victims] have been treated, and they [have] been abused by the Muslim community.”
The BJP and HRSP have accused the film of perpetuating “anti-nationalism,” and called for a boycott of the movie.
The BJP has also attacked the filmmakers for using footage of “the Mumbai terror attack,” an attack that took place on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, to promote its political cause.
The Bollywood star and former cricket star Sachin Tendulkar said in a tweet that the film was “pure anti-nationalist propaganda.”
In a statement, the BJP said the “misinformation campaign” had “been launched to undermine the integrity of our democracy.”
The BSP and the HRSP responded by saying that the “anti/anti-BJP campaign” was the work of “a small band of people” who were trying to discredit their political parties and destroy their “loyalty” to India.
“We have been following the situation closely for a long time.
There is no anti-Bharatiya Muslim League,” BJP spokesperson Deepak Bhandari told Newsweek.
“All of us in this party, whether in the government or in the party, will stand by the values and the values of our party.”
He added that “no political party has been spared by the