The Ghazi Attack: Bollywood Film Distorts The History Yet Again

If you thought Bollywood has exhausted the theme of Pakistan-India wars, think again because The Ghazi Attack which released recently is all about Indo-Pak underwater war. It is India’s first war at sea film based on their perspective of the war which happened in 1971 in Indian waters.

Before i begin, i would like to say that i have many Indian friends and every time we discuss about the history of neighbouring countries, it always gets messed up since the history they know is really different from what we ‘Pakistani’s’ know. This clearly states that both countries have different perspectives of the history be it partition or any other war, the facts always contradict.

When it comes to stories ‘inspired’ by history, filmmakers actually enter a dangerous territory by the fact that cinema commands a much larger audience than textual history. They are expected to make something which delivers a story closest to the truth, But Bollywood has done distortions of history previously too (take Mohenjo Daro as example).

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Coming back to ‘The Ghazi Attack’, the film is about Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi, which was one of the fastest submarines at the time of the war. As much as it is going to be patriotic for the Indian’s, the truth was never cleared. The film shows Indian navy’s struggle to destroy their rivals along with the submarine called “Ghazi’.

The Ghazi Attack opens up in 1971, showing how West Pakistan mistreated East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Followed by Indian naval forces going for a classified search mission to check the presence of Pakistani forces in their waters and they do manage to track Pakistan’s submarine ‘Ghazi’. According to the film, Pakistan attacks Indian submarine a multiple times but even after many attacks Pakistan wasn’t able to destroy Indian submarine. And at the end the Indian forces attack Ghazi and manage to destroy it with a single torpedo.

There are disputed versions of sinking of Ghazi. To date, there is no clear confirmation to how she sank. The submarine sank under circumstances which aren’t clear. There’s a Pakistani version and an Indian version which are totally opposite.

Indian version states that Indian Navy destroyed Ghazi using depth charges fired by INS Rajput.

And according to Pakistan Navy’s investigation, there were two probable reasons connecting to this mishap:

1) Magnetic Exploder/Hydrogen explosion
2) Detonation of a mine inside the submarine

The contradictory statements from within the Indian naval force itself maintains that Ghazi sank under mysterious circumstances. Official statements from Indian navy officers actually claim that the investigations carried by their own team reveal that there had been internal explosions inside the submarine and there’s a certain amount of possibility of Ghazi’s sinking due to internal explosion.

The truth still actually lies within Indian waters and there is no report of how Ghazi actually sank. However, the film implies that Ghazi was destroyed by Indian army. It came with a huge disclaimer welcoming other perspectives of the story but somehow managed to show Pakistan as an evil and enemy country in every minute of the film.

Although, people from both the countries try to join hands with each other through sports and arts but extremist factions present in all the fields don’t want the countries to have a peaceful start. Indian film industry in last six decades has made countless anti-Pakistan films and these films do nothing but force the audience to consider the neighbours as the enemies. I have always been a peace lover and i believe films like this create rift between already disputed neighbours.

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Bollywood has often touched upon the topic of Indo-Pak wars in several of their movies which mainly focus on glorifying the Indian side and, it is happening this time again, where Pakistan is referred as the enemy in the whole movie and loses at the end. And guess what? the Pakistani’s are actually shown as the stereotypical evil people. The filmmakers are leaving no stone unturned to cash out the conflicts between Pakistan and India. It is the high time when both the countries should move on and look forward to a better future.

What impact will these kinds of films leave on the audiences and where will this take the status of the already tense relationship between India and Pakistan? Do share your thoughts.

Rimsha Butt