India’s Cinematic Warfare: Shaping Narratives and Influencing Minds in its Hybrid War on Pakistan

by Shanzay Waseem

Films offer a profound perspective on our minds, leaving enduring memories. Portraying our narrative through a vast canvas like films enables reaching a broader audience than any other medium. Untold stories or our untold side can be shared with audiences of any generation. India, our neighboring country, produces thousands of movies. However, some movies convey an anti-Pakistani or more aptly an anti-historical narrative to the younger generation, devoid of factual history. While modifications for plot engagement are acceptable, altering overall history isn’t something professional filmmakers should take pride in, regardless of nationality.

Movies are also said to be made in Pakistan. However, the challenge lies in prioritizing financial dynamics over creating historical masterpieces. Nevertheless, many actors and directors consider it their responsibility as Pakistanis to prioritize portraying our narrative, transcending considerations of gains or losses from the film. Films like “JAVED IQBAL: The Serial Killer” and “SHAH” have been recently released, showcasing genuine efforts to make them as realistic as possible. Although these films may not have made a profound impact on the masses, they leave thought-provoking messages and a lasting impact on those who watched them. “JAVED IQBAL” was not recognized in its homeground but was selected in the UK Asian Film Festival, where the lead actor won the BEST ACTOR award, and the director won the BEST DIRECTOR award. Conversely, many Pakistanis remained unaware of the film. However, sporadically creating such films doesn’t fulfill our role as Pakistanis. We shouldn’t be swayed into thinking it’s time to understand industry tactics for profit at the expense of portraying authentic narratives.

In this context, every individual harbors a unique taste and preference in their choice of viewing content. The challenge arises in catering to those who harbor a desire to explore Pakistan’s history and gain insights into its internal mechanisms. Unfortunately, they find themselves limited to genres like romance and comedy, as Pakistani filmmakers have not delved into producing films on this subject matter. Consequently, enthusiasts resort to watching films created by non-Pakistani filmmakers, resulting in a narrative and ideology starkly different from the authentic history behind the scenes. The portrayal of Pakistan in these films becomes not just negative but brutally dark on various levels. We risk failing to propagate Pakistan’s narrative across all platforms if our focus remains confined to specific genres driven solely by profit motives, selling out false fantasies to the audience.

Undoubtedly, films serve as a potent medium of psychological communication, leaving indelible imprints on the minds of diverse global audiences. Their impact is far-reaching, possessing the ability to manipulate narratives and shape ideologies. In a fast-paced world, where time for in-depth research is a luxury, individuals often turn to movies for quick information, becoming susceptible to the allure of superficial content. Specific Indian films, such as “The Kashmir Files” and “Raazi,” have become proponents of a highly anti-historical narrative concerning Pakistan. As famously stated in an Indian movie, “The Tashkent Files,” people prefer stories about truth rather than the truth itself, contributing to the creation of illusions about Pakistan as a dangerous state. These false allegations may unconsciously lead those unaware of history to sympathize with India’s perspective.

For instance, “The Kashmir Files” insinuates that Kashmiri Hindus were oppressed by terrorists masquerading as freedom fighters, resulting in their forced exodus from Kashmir. However, this narrative is a fabrication, aimed at garnering sympathy votes. In reality, the Indian Army and government have been implicated in numerous atrocities against innocent Kashmiri people, deploying pellet guns against civilians, including children and the elderly. Through the strategic use of Hybrid Warfare, India portrays itself as an innocent prey, concealing the harsh realities of its actions in its illegally Occupied Kashmir.

India has adeptly embraced cutting-edge technology, strategically showcasing its content on Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. While these platforms deviate from the traditional cinema hall experience, they provide global accessibility, enabling users worldwide to consume content at their convenience. Subtitles further enhance the understanding of the content’s topic and theme. India capitalizes on this global reach to convey its narrative, presenting Pakistan as a cunning and deceitful state. However, this portrayal is a distortion of reality, with many layers of truth yet to be unveiled.

In summation, recognizing that smaller steps lead to more substantial achievements in life, leveraging our narrative through expansive mediums like films holds the potential to reach a larger audience. By effectively presenting our side of the factful history, we can contribute to a more nuanced and accurate understanding among the global audience, transcending the limitations imposed by specific genres and profit-driven motivations.

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