Filmistan, Sunny Deol and love thy neighbour

“It is a small movie with a big heart,” and that is how most film critics have described the movie Filmistan. It is a film that crosses the boundaries set by religious fanatics of Pakistan effortlessly. I mentioned only Pakistan because there is no mention of fanatics from India in the movie, I believe there is a similar breed in India as well. These fanatics can generally be called terrorists and that is how they have been depicted in the film. Filmistan beautifully weaves the basic ethos of the “aam janta” of the two countries, who believe in live and let live and love.

If you are reading this then you should see the movie and it will be nice if you read this piece after having seen the film. It has some amazingly funny moments and any Hindi movie buff will absolutely love it. So go and see it if you haven’t so already.

One peculiar thing in the movie that grabbed my attention was the repeated reference to Sunny Deol and the allegiance of the protagonists to the actor. The movie makers also made a Youtube trailer where the actors sing paeans in honour of the actor (See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbtP6Gxyie8). Even the lead character is named Sunny in the movie. While the Sunny references get a lot of laughs, I felt that there was perhaps also a subtle message that the makers of the movie wanted to convey: Please do not hate thy neighbour.

Sunny Deol is perhaps the only actor in Hindi cinema who has been repeatedly used by Directors to spew venom on screen about our “padosi mulk” and has set the box-office cash registers ringing. Such was his clout in those movies that Gadar-Ek Prem Katha is till date one of the highest grossers in Indian Cinema. Gadar had successfully built up on the rage and fury he had displayed in the film Border earlier. While as an actor he was just doing the job, a big section of the population perhaps went on to believe that Pakistan is a country of terrorists. Kargil War and the perennial problem of infiltration only added to the negative perception.

However, today is the time when we need to open the windows of our houses. The air has become too stale and stagnant. This is the time when both the neighbours need to open their arms and make way to each other’s hearts and homes. This is the time when we need to kill Terrorism and give birth to Happy-ism. There is a sequence in the film where a patrol guard smells something fishy when a kid calls out for the protagonist Sunny. To save the situation his friend says that the kid is a great fan of Sunny Deol and loves his films like Ghayal, Ghaatak and Daamini, but he doesn’t mention Border or Gadar.  For me the Pakistani friend of the Indian Sunny, even upstaged Jai and Veeru of Sholay in their bond of friendship, for the makers of the film perhaps believe that let us not give our audiences any more Gadar but many more movies like Filmistan.