The finding of a 76-page Study Report titled ‘Mapping Chinese Footprints and Influence Operation in India’ released by the Law and Society Alliance has concluded that the Chinese are increasingly buying influence in the Bollywood industry and subtly brainwashing the masses by casually shoving pro-China ideas down their throats.
According to the study, Beijing has attempted and, in some ways, succeeded to make deep in-roads in the Indian intellectual space. Especially after gifting humanity a deadly virus that has brought the entire planet to a semi-halt of sorts for the better part of the last one and a half years, China is looking to ramp up its investment. Its perception is at an all-time low, coupled with the fact that the Indian government has banned one after another Chinese enterprise in the country.
The report states, “It is a combination of financial investments, whether in the entertainment industry, in the socio-political realm through Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government has been using every trick in its playbook to make in-roads into the Indian economy and society. This is being done in order to try and press forward its own selfish narrative and to create discord within the Indian society with regard to China’s actions and motives”,
Bollywood Movies and Chinese influence
In 2011, director, Imtiaz Ali’s movie Rockstar starring Ranbir Kapoor was released after receiving a series of cuts from the Censor board. This was the UPA-2 era where the Chinese were practically dictating the officials sitting in 24, Akbar Marg office with a certain Gandhi surname about how to go about their business. Reportedly, the censor board had cut a scene showing a “Free Tibet” flag, during the ‘Sadda haq’ song sequence which apparently angered the Tibetans living in exile, here in India.
Activists of Students for a Free Tibet-India (SFT) had lodged their protest against the move by remarking, “Tibetans living in India and across the world are disheartened that the ‘Free Tibet’ banner has been deleted from the film, which otherwise could have carried the message through this much-awaited film of the year,”
Chandni Chowk to China
Scrapping the bottom of the barrel was Chandi Chowk to China which has to be one of the idiotic movies that Akshay Kumar has ever had the bad fortune of doing. The movie shedding all pretences tried to push a pro-China line unashamedly.
We were taught about Chinese history in abundance, and perhaps, a significant majority of us would know more about Ming Dynasty ruler Lie Shen than any Chola ruler of the country. It was evident that the movie was going to paint the Chinese as the good guy when the majority of the shooting took place in Bangkok and Shanghai Film Studio.
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
Another movie named ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, subtly tried to promote communism by evoking the name of Mao Tse-tung. Without delving too much into the wreckage of a movie it was, one needs to understand that the main protagonist Imran Khan aka Matru and his revolutionary instincts in the film are shown to be significantly influenced by those of Mao Tse-tung.
The villagers, in their fight, are supported and advised by Mao who regularly sends messages to the villagers, written on cloth. Later in the film, it is revealed that Mao is none other than Matru who is advising the villagers without revealing himself in order to retain the key position as Harry’s (Pankaj Kapur) aide.
Maoism is a menace for the country, the left-wing extremist areas are far more dangerous than the border areas of the country and here we had a movie that not only glorified the pioneer of the diabolical ideology but also used it as a plot device throughout the excruciating 151 minutes run time.
No pro-India war movie on the 1962 Indo-China war
Moreover, an interesting point to notice is that ever since the 1962 Indo-China war, only a handful of movies have been created. While Indo-Pak movies are a routine as the liberal cabal cannot go against the popular public perception but trying to name and shame China is a trope that we have rarely seen played out on the big screen.
Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, and other actors who have seemingly tried to bring the nationalistic flavour in the Bollywood industry have also not done any movie where China is shown as the rightful villain it is. It begets the question that we still haven’t seen the rightful representation of heroes like Major Shaitan Singh – the daredevil that conquered the Rezang La pass in the 1962 war.
Perhaps, the business is too big to ignore. China is the world’s second-biggest movie market after the US. It presently has 41,000 cinema screens which are almost double the number in India. Aamir Khan’s Dangal was a smash hit at the Chinese box office, raking in over Rs 1300 crore, and hence you wouldn’t see Aamir at least making an anti-China movie in the near future.
Using movies to garner good press is an age-old PR move. China has been at the forefront of it. Not only Bollywood but Hollywood also has not been spared by the charm of the Chinese. There’s a reason why Marvel and other cinematic behemoths are targeting China for their releases.
With a market-access to Hollywood and Bollywood studios, the Chinese government has started using these culturally influential studios as a Chinese propaganda tool. The scriptwriters, directors, and production studios are forced to paint China and the Chinese government in a good light in a fear of getting banned by the Chinese government.
The recent release of Shang Chi was also aimed to introduce an Asian and in specific Chinese superhero so that the moviegoers could feel relatable and shell more money on the tickets. While Hollywood has been completely usurped by the CCP, it is slowly but steadily engulfing the tinsel town of Bollywood.