There have been many times when the Indian Army has played a key role in a Bollywood movie. While the films have been appreciated almost every time, there have been instances where the creators have received bullshit from men in costume or people in general. While many times, it was for inappropriate representation of the army, while there have been times when the uniform has shown wrong, and this has angered several senior army officials.
A few years ago, director Meghna Gulzar announced with great fanfare the first glimpse of her upcoming film based on the life of General Sam Maneckshaw. Following the release of the promotional image for the upcoming film “Sam Bahadur” starring actress Vicky Kaushal, Army veteran Lt. Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain (ed.) Tweeted that Kaushal’s uniform had the insignia of the wrong grade. colour .
I would love if you consult. Lt. Gen. Deepinder Singh, his MA, is there to give him everything. Vicky Kaushal, for a start, wears the wrong colored ranking badges. Sam was a Gurkha, he never wore brass, always black badges. I’m proud to wear it as a Garhwali Bhulla. https://t.co/S4BG2lKHuW
– Syed Ata Hasnain (@ atahasnain53) June 27, 2019
He had written, “I would love if you consult him. Lt. Gen. Deepinder Singh, his MA, is there to give him everything. Vicky Kaushal, for a start, wears the wrong colored ranking badges. Sam was a Gurkha, he never wore brass, always black badges. “I’m proud to wear it as a Garhwali Bhulla (sic).”
A similar incident occurred when actor Akshay Kumar released the first look at the poster of the movie “Gorkha”. Major Manik M Jolly, a former officer in one of Gorkha’s many rifle regiments, took to social media to post a bug on Twitter. He stated that the shape of the khukri (a type of mahalepi used in the poster) was incorrect. Kumar apologized for the mistake and said that they would pay maximum attention during the shooting of the film, as the poster was just a poster announcing the project.
The film “Gorkha” is about Lt. Gen. Ian Cardozo, whose name goes down in history for his enormous courage in the Indo-Pakistani war in 1971. He wrote, “Dear @akshaykumar ji, as a former Gorkha officer, thank you for you made this movie. However, the details do matter. Please take Khukri correctly. The sharp edge is on the other side. It is not a sword. Khukri hits the inside of the blade. Ref. Photo by Khukri att. Thank you (sic). “
beloved akshaykumar Ji, as a former Gorkha Officer, thank you for making this film. However, the details do matter. Please take Khukri correctly. The sharp edge is on the other side. It is not a sword. Khukri hits the inside of the blade. Ref. Photo by Khukri att. Thanks. pic.twitter.com/LhtBlQ9UGn
– Maj Manik M Jolly, SM (@Manik_M_Jolly) October 16, 2021
Kumar wrote in his resume: “Dear Maj Jolly, thank you very much for pointing this out. We will be very careful during filming. I am very proud and honored to make Gorkha. Any suggestions to bring it closer to reality would be highly appreciated (sic). “
This was not the first time that Major Manik M Jolly had pointed out a mistake in a Bollywood film about the military. He also tweeted about Kaushal’s first appearance on “Sam Bahadur” and wrote on Twitter: “Someone who is dressed the wrong way as shown in the color pictures. expected from filmmakers. Take the uniform of such legendary soldiers. @ vickykaushal09 – Another proud Gurkas (sic) ».
Someone who is dressed the wrong way as shown in the color pictures. He is an officer of the Gurkhas. He wore discreetly black, not gold. This is the least that can be expected from a filmmaker. Take the uniform of such legendary soldiers. @ vickykaushal09
– Another proud Gurkas pic.twitter.com/AXjfexC88p
– Maj Manik M Jolly, SM (@Manik_M_Jolly) June 27, 2020
Again, Ekta Kapoor’s “XXX” online series got into controversy when the Department of Defense wrote to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) asking creators of films or web series about the Army to obtain a Certificate Without Objection (NOC) before ventilating them. The letter stated that Kapoor’s “XXX” online series, which has been airing on the ALT Balaji video streaming platform since 2018, portrayed the Army in a distorted way. Such an incident is said to have hurt the feelings of the armed forces and their families.
The episode, titled “Pyaar Aur Plastic”, aired on February 8, 2020 and featured the wife of an army officer having an affair. During their romantic moments, she puts her boyfriend to wear her husband’s army uniform at one point in the episode. There was a lot of controversy and eventually the Department of Defense sent this letter, according to information to the CBFC.
While the military did not protest “Haider”, controversy continued over the film directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. The third part of his Shakespeare-inspired trilogy received positive reviews and performed well at the box office, but was initially well received. Many people supported the boycott of the film because it portrayed the Indian Army badly. They opposed the torture and human rights abuses by the Indian Army. Some even mocked Bhardwaj, referring to him as a Pakistani spy.
In “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”, actor Shah Rukh Khan wore a formation symbol in a military uniform, while in “Holiday”, actor Akshay Kumar wore an Army Ordnance Corps hat wearing a green Infantry rifle beret. Both cases were pointed out by fans on social media, however, there was no significant nuance or outcry created by the military.
On this day of the Indian Army, let us hope that Bollywood filmmakers will pay special attention so as not to repeat such mistakes in their works.
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