India is famous for its 3Cs and its economy widely depends and runs on it. The 3Cs being Cricket, Crime and Cinema. Formerly known as the Bombay Cinema, Hindi cinema is now popularly known as Bollywood. The Hindi Cinema has a wider viewership all around the world; this gives it a wider audience and provides wider opportunity to create diversified content. Bollywood has a major impact on the society and contributed a lot towards perception building and narrative formation. In this world of information warfare winning the war of perception is the major goal of many countries, India is one of them. Using historical accounts, real events, mythological and manipulative dialogues in filmmaking were evident from the very start in Hindi cinema. Border is the most anti-Pakistan film of all time, and it receives a standing ovation for displaying unprecedented hostility. The film is also full of inaccurate facts about the 1971 war, as most of it was fought on Pakistan’s eastern wing.  The movie is full of verbal hatred directed against Pakistan, adding fuel to the raging conflict between the two countries. Gadar-Ek Prem Katha was a film made to discredit Pakistan’s image. The plot revolves around partition and its consequences. In the film, Pakistani leaders are depicted as harsh and vicious toward Indians. According to the movie, Pakistani politicians do nothing except humiliate Indians, and they are so frail that one Indian can completely demolish them in their own nation. This stupid film is filled of insults.

Quite recently, since after the winning of the RSS ideology supporter Narender Modi, these manipulative and narrative building movies have taken higher pace. Modi is actively seen with the Bollywood stars, supporting and promoting movies that have anti-Muslim or anti-Pakistan narrative. There is a significant division and hatred seen amongst the Muslims and Hindus in India.

Winning the public narrative is very crucial in a democratic environment and India claiming to be a secular democratic country focuses on it a lot through different means, Bollywood being one of them. A European group’s thorough examination has yielded stunning results about an Indian network aggressively disseminating disinformation. According to the EU DisinfoLab, the objective of this network is to denigrate states in Asia that are at odds with India, particularly Pakistan. Its long-term goal gives support to the phrase “fifth-generation warfare,” as the campaign intends to cement pro-India sentiment while spreading anti-Pakistan sentiment around the world through media manipulation. The Indian network has worked tirelessly since 2005 to gain favourable backing from international institutions such as the EU and UN, with the dual purpose of consolidating India’s influence and image in the globe while harming the reputation of other countries.

       The BJP government has rigorously pressurized the Hindi cinema to come up with movies that have anti-Muslim rhetoric to support their political ideology. Recent movies such as Uri-The Surgical Strike was applauded by the cabinet members of Modi and was promoted at a large scale across the country. Movie such as The Kashmir Files depicts how brutally the Muslims treated Hindu pundits in Kashmir which led to the exodus. Narendra Modi tweeted about the movie saying “the truth came out”. Across the country private and government offices were encouraging their employees to watch the movie by givng them days off and offering free tickets.

       Using this one of kind huge platform with such large number of audience is part of psychological warfare. Modi came to power with the slogans against Pakistan and Muslims in particular this explains his mindset as an ultra-conservative RSS supporter and that he is into narrative building amongst the Hindu population. Indian foreign policy is based on the principles of Chanakya Kautaliya’s Arthashastra which clearly shows the strategic thinking of Indian government.

         Bollywood needs to stay what it is, entertaining platform rather than becoming a political tool for RSS ideology. Being part of the Modiwood would only lessen its viewership and would raise questions on its content for a wider audience.

Asifa Fida
Asifa Fida
BS hons in strategic studies