Bard of Blood Trailer Drop on Netflix India has left Pakistani Shahrukh fans hugely disappointed! The upcoming Indian spy thriller web series is based on the 2015 espionage novel of the same name by Bilal Siddiqi.
A do or die mission set against the backdrop of terrorist-ridden Baluchistan. A RAW agent who can save the day, a Baluchistan tribal leader who swears revenge, flashing images of Pakistani police force battling the spies with a shout out (KILL them all)! – Is it just me or are Indian script writers at a loss for inspiring story lines? Red Chillies Entertainment finally steps into the big bad Netflix world and THIS is what they have to offer?
It is perhaps ironic that Pakistani actress Mehwish Hayat, just recently spoke at the Oslo Award Ceremony to state that Hollywood and Bollywood need to steer away from constantly portraying Pakistan in a negative light. Did her plea fall on deaf ears? Fast forward 2 weeks on and SRK unveils the trailer to Bard of Blood – an adrenalin-filled frame opens onto a rugged Baluchistan terrain in Pakistan.
Why, you ask, (in your obvious ignorance) can SRK not make this backdrop the subject of his debut Netflix Thriller? Well, as a Pakistani fan, who has grown up on Bollywood and SRK-laden movie masala – I was hoping he would see the light, but (unfortunately) with age, does not necessarily come maturity. Rather, a desperation to grab a piece of the evasively shrinking piece of pie. One can argue that after delivering successive box office flops, Shahrukh Khan is hoping for viewership from the 1.3+ billion strong Indian viewership that is already cheering for Pakistani blood across the border. Yes, that is probably correct, and a smart business decision, (especially with the recent flops) – you do the numbers. I’m just doing the writing.
There are so many things wrong with the Bard of Blood Trailer. Where do I begin?
1. Indian Spy (Raw Agent Emraan Hashmi) is shown in the respectable cover profession of school teacher as he is recalled to duty. This, as opposed to, the crudely painted Pakistani counterpart who swears to take revenge from the agent if he returns. Yes, we are the blood thirsty rogues we’re made out to be, and bumbling idiots also, as you will see, when they lose to the Indian raw agent! (Most of the story line is revealed in the trailer btw, but then, I guess, they had to make sure the Indians root for it, even before the first episode is aired)!
2. India across the border – prim and proper uniform-attired school children, attending a clean, sparsely furnished, yet well-settled school in India, as opposed to, gun-toting Baluchi children standing on rugged terrain chanting political slogans. Hmmm, you got that right Shahrukh Khan!
3. The spies, yes, the spies, who have infiltrated in another country’s border and meddling, yes, meddling in their affairs are shown as the fighters for good, right, and higher moral ground, as opposed to, a blundering Pakistani police force and connected underground network that is all about guns, arms and shedding blood.
4. No matter how slick the production, the action shots, the revival of Imran Hashmi in a central role, the Bard of Blood story line is just so rotten from the inside that any Pakistani who has half an idea of what’s going on across the border, will not only unfollow Shahrukh Khan, but Netflix India as well.
5. Is this really the time, or is there any time really when such a story line can be lauded? When spies can be idolized, when art and entertainment help spread a sinister message? – Remember the days when Hollywood was obsessed with the U.S.S.R and Russian spies were in vogue? Shahrukh Khan, we expected you to be bigger, better and beyond, (and more original). But obviously, you didn’t measure up!
I could go on, but I’ll stop. Needless to say, Pakistani fans are more than just disappointed. I know many who have unfollowed the (great)? Khan. And others who probably will after the first episode airs.
Oh yes, and another thing. If you were so short on ideas, here are some that could have proved worthy:
Story of a Pakistani-Indian couple whose relationship would be challenged against the very ‘real’ backdrop of Indo-Pak tensions.
Cross border relationships, friendships, estranged family members and the journey of their lives. Throw in some drama (real life, again), and you have a story.
Even a comedy might have hit the right spot. How similar are we as a race, culture, lifestyle, and yet, how different too. A good story is worth telling, but only if you look for it.
Gone are the days when you needed to make your mark in Bollywood. You HAVE made your mark. Now you’re not a follower, but a game changer, a trend setter, an influencer (as they call it today) – you CAN change mindsets, you CAN influence young minds, yours and ours, but only if you try.
Neeedless to say, SRK has not come up with a rebuttal for his Pakistani fan base. Is it that he just doesn’t care? Next time he posts that Eid Mubarak message on his Twitter wall, let me tell you, 197+ million Pakistanis won’t be listening, add that to the 8 million Kashmiris or what’s left of them next year – and you’re done SRK. Yes, you might have won the popular Indian vote, but you’ve lost a lot of hearts – but perhaps, you’re not in the business of winning hearts anymore? And it’s not you, but your (ex) fans who need to understand that!
Art is a very powerful tool. Use it responsibly and it will not only mimic life, but also inspire, and change mindsets. Use it irresponsibly and you end up with war, and a people filled with hate in their hearts. At the end of the day, it is about the world we choose to leave for our future generations. You of all people (and as a father), should know that. If you want to leave a world, any world, for your children, ‘Peace’ is the only option left, but you have to believe in it before you set out to achieve it.
So, have you stopped believing, or does it just not make business sense anymore?
Image Credits: Google
Shazia likes to pen her thoughts when she feels passionately about a life experience, a person or an event. She is mother to 3 lively boys and along with her husband, attempts to settle in her new country by taking German lessons so she is able to soak in the culture, language and spirit of the region.
“Wake up in the morning, take a deep breath and exhale! Keep on living with a passion that inspires others! “