The producers and directors of the forthcoming Bollywood film Fighter—which stars Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, and Anil Kapoor—have recently come under fire from Indian writer, producer, and actor Kamaal R. Khan, better known by his stage name KRK.
Not only did the filmmakers release a three-minute trailer that appeared to center on the 2019 Pulwama assault, but it also drew criticism from Pakistani celebrities and KRK, who were unhappy with the continuation of anti-Pakistan rhetoric.
Famous for his frank comments and critiques of films, KRK recently uploaded a video to YouTube in which he analyzed the trailer and pointed out the problematic depictions he saw. The film’s attempt to appeal to viewers’ emotions for the sake of patriotism was his main point of criticism, and he stressed that viewers are not easily convinced by such stories.
The centrality of Pakistan as the antagonist in Bollywood films was a major source of concern for KRK. “I don’t get why every movie bombs Pakistan. We have the same problems with China, too. Why don’t we try bombing China instead?” he asked in an apparent attempt to broaden the attention away from Pakistan. So why is Pakistan always the one you aim at?
After that, KRK voiced his doubts over the efficacy of India’s defense spending and security measures, arguing that, contrary to popular belief, it just takes a small group of officers to bring down a whole country. He made a lighthearted suggestion, suggesting, “Just send a Hrithik or Vidyut every six months to do the job.”
The actor-producer speculated that Fighter, which stars Deepika Padukone, would have the same commercial failure as Tejas, which stars Kangana Ranaut. While criticizing the overuse of Pakistan as a villain, he argued that filmmakers should broaden their focus to include other geopolitical challenges.
While Bollywood prepares to premiere Fighter on January 25, which happens to be Indian Republic Day, KRK’s criticism prompts a more extensive examination of how the industry depicts geopolitical tensions and the necessity for narrative diversity.