The recently-released trailer of Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone and Anil Kapoor’s much-awaited film Fighter has created quite a buzz on social media platforms. Soon after it was officially released by the makers, it went viral, with fans gushing over the power-packed action sequences and powerful dialogues. While fans have already declared it a ‘certified blockbuster’, the trailer did not go down well with several Pakistani celebrities who lashed out at the makers of Fighter for portraying Pakistanis as ‘villains’.
For those unversed, Fighter is set against the backdrop of India’s courageous airstrike on Pakistan after the 2019 Pulwama terror attack, which claimed the lives of 40 jawans. In the trailer, Hrithik claims India’s right on Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and the one where he threatens to turn the entire neighbouring nation into ‘IOP’ which is ‘India occupied Pakistan’.
Reacting to the trailer, Pakistani actress Zara Noor Abbas said, “It’s so funny to see Hrithik Roshan say that [India owns Kashmir] and Pakistan has occupied Kashmir. Would anyone like to ask Kashmiris about who they serve? Because they serve no one. Kashmiris deserve an independent state, full stop. India needs to move past its entitlement of making Kashmiris slaves. That narrative is too old.”
She further added, “And if you were going to copy Top Gun, you should have done a better job. Talk about other topics, like nut bolts you can’t fix in planes. But maybe get over the fact that you guys can occupy Pakistan or Pakistan can occupy India, because, at the end of the day, we were all together, in the subcontinent. So isn’t it better to create some sort of love? No, but you can’t do that. Why? Because, of course, Modi won’t let you do it, right?”
Zara’s husband, actor Asad Siddiqui also slammed the makers of Fighter for promoting hatred.
“Same old chronicle. Aren’t you guys tired of selling the same false crap?! Grow up, guys! The world is moving on and getting mature but why do you want to sell this cheap story of hatred? Could have also promoted peace. Don’t we have enough hatred in the world that you had to boost more hate [through] this global medium of movies?” he wrote on social media.
The actor continued, “We all have a responsibility to promote peace around the globe instead of hate. What are you trying to prove here with this movie though?! How about checking facts that the whole world knows? You came, and we shot your MiG-21 and captured your pilot and then we released him with a fantastic cup of tea. Wake up, you guys!”
Asad added, “And who the hell are you to decide the Kashmiris’ fate?! The world is watching what you have been doing there for decades with those innocent people. Having said it all, I love my friends and family in India. Huge respect for them to love our work but this narrative of spreading hate between two neighbours for no reason is just derogatory to people who have given their lives in the name of global peace. We all belong to the creative arts and so we have the best chance and responsibility of spreading and planting reconciliation via [coexistence] mandates. Don’t waste it by making such content. Please, get over it guys!”
Without mentioning the name of the movie, actor Adnan Siddiqui said that it is ‘disheartening’ to see Bollywood portray Pakistanis as villains.
“Once celebrated for love, Bollywood now crafts hate-filled narratives, portraying us as villains. Despite our love for your films, it’s disheartening. Art transcends boundaries; let’s use it to promote love and peace. Two nations, victims of politics, deserve better,” he wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).
On January 16, Pakistani actress Hania Aamir took to her Instagram story to call out Bollywood actors for ‘feeding the riff between the two countries’ through movies.
She wrote, “So sad and unfortunate to know that there are artists out there in this day and age who are aware of the power that the cinema holds and still go ahead and feed the riff between the two countries. I feel sorry for the artists who try to bridge the gap by trusting their art as a medium.”
Fighter also stars Karan Singh Grover, Akshay Oberoi, Ashutosh Rana, and Sanjeeda Sheikh, among others, in key roles. The film has been directed by Siddharth Anand of War and Pathaan fame.
The film is all set to hit the silver screens on January 25, 2024.