By NewsGram Desk
Islamism was very subtly promoted by Salim-Javed in mainstream cinema back in the old bollywood days. And the movie Deewaar was their high point. It was Cultural imperialism in the name of “Hindu-Muslim Bhai bhai” and Secularism. Cultural imperialism happens to be the practice of promoting and imposing a culture over a less powerful society.
This record is completely based on a badge or Billa. Yes, the badge or Billa No. 786 which was shown in Deewaar. After this film, the presence of this badge was witnessed not only in Hindi cinema but also in Telugu movies like Khaidi No. 786. Not to forget, there also exists the epic movie of Mithun Chakraborthy with the title Billa No. 786.
In the movie Deewaar, Amitabh Bachchan keeps the Billa No.786 in his chest pocket, which saves him from the bullet on two different occasions.
It might sound very absurd and comical today, but during those times these scenes were the most astonishing highlights of the movie and were a big reason behind the success of the movie. Such scenes were emotionally compelling to the audience.
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The times have changed though.
In the movie Deewaar, Islam was depicted as a peaceful and kind-hearted religion and its fellow members were shown as hardworking victims of poverty, filled with honesty and religion. The movie tried to balance this out with some positive stuff about Hinduism. Back in those days, it was not easy to bash Hinduism through movies unlike these days when movies like Haider, Raman Raghav, PK, Leila, etc are made.
Do you remember the scene from the movie Deewaar that first shows Amitabh Bachchan wearing his coolie badge of 786 and the camera remains focused on Billa No. 786 in front of the Shiva Temple where his mother, Nirupa Roy goes every day? In the next scene, the significance of the badge is told to us by the old Rahim Chacha.
The dialogue explaining the munificence and protection afforded by the number 786 is straight out of some sermon delivered by a kind Maulvi in a mosque, complete with Billa No.786 shining resplendently in the morning sun says Sandeep Balakrishna in his article for The Dharma Dispatch.
The dialouge goes like-“786…hum logon mein is se bohot mubarak samajhte hai. Jaise hota hai na woh OM? Waise yeh 786…786 ka matlab hota hai beta, Bismillah. Shuru karta hoon Allah ke naam se. bohot Mubarak cheez hai beta. Badi barkat hai is mein. Is Bille ko hamesha apne paas rakhna. ”
Sandeep Balakrishna provides a rough translation of the dialougue in his article for The Dharma Dispatch: In our community, 786 is considered to be very auspicious. 786 is similar to OM. My son, the meaning of 786 is Bismillah. It’s like saying, “I shall start by invoking the name of Allah.” It’s a very auspicious thing, my son. It is endowed with a lot of prosperity. Keep this badge with you always.
With this perfect script writing, Salim-Javed managed to pull off an amazing trickery on Hindus. Sandeep Balakrishna calls it “Halal-ing the Hindus via cinema” in his article for The Dharma Dispatch and continues by saying that the subterfuge specifically is equating Bismillah with Om. It’s beyond the scope of this essay to elaborate on this point.
The cunning side of the movie Deewaar cannot be understood without drawing a comparison.
Taking the case Nirupa Roy, who played the role of suffering but loving and caring mother in the film. A Hindu mother who never fails to visit the Shiva Temple and her devotion towards him is unshakable. But what did she get in the end after all the devotion? A criminal son and a police officer son at war with each other leading to death of the former.
Shashi Kapoor, the cop brother had mixed emotions and faith towards Shiva, his mother’s favourite Deity. Whereas, Amitabh Bachchan is constantly angry with Shiva because he believes that he has done injustice to the kind-hearted woman. In an early scene in the movie, the temple Pujari tells Nirupa Roy that Amitabh Bachchan will come to the temple the day he develops Shraddha (faith or conviction) within himself. But Amitabh Bachchan instantly develops Shraddha towards 786 after Rahim Chacha explains its divine powers.
Indeed, Amitabh Bachchan’s extended conversation with Shiva in the same temple towards the end is both a brilliant piece of dialogue and scene execution writes Sandeep Balakrishna in his article for The Dharma Dispatch.
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So the question that arises is that does Amitabh Bachchan visit the Shiva Temple because Shradda had finally developed within him? Aswering the same Sandeep Balakrishna in his article for The Dharma Dispatch writes- It’s clear that that isn’t the case. He goes there because it’s his desperate attempt and prayer to save his ailing mother from dying. So when Amitabh Bachchan’s character pleads with Shiva, “don’t punish my mother for my sins,” and we place the whole thing in the context of the entire film, the impact is like an ideological sledgehammer. Shiva is a punishing God who never heeds Nirupa Roy’s lifelong prayers while 786/Allah is a protecting God. As we’ve seen earlier, it is only Billa No.786 that repeatedly saves Amitabh Bachchan from certain death. It is only when he loses Billa No.786 that he is fatally shot and eventually dies. In other words, he loses Allah’s protection. And where does he die? Precisely in the selfsame Shiva Temple.
Sandeep Balakrishna in his article for The Dharma Dispatch continues to explain that the downfall of Hindi cinema began the day it transmogrified into Bollywood. There was a lull after the end of the Salim-Javed and Angry Young Man and anti-establishment movie era. That lull was filled by the rich and entitled dynasts in Hindi cinema who transformed it into Bollywood. Today, Bollywood has no connection with either India or with reality itself. Consequently, over the last decade or so, it has become artistically barren and increasingly relies on perversion to hawk its wares. It remains to be seen who can fill the vacuum. Scoring ideological points via cinema has brought Hindi cinema to this abyss. Relying on the finest traditions of Indian and classical aesthetics might help.