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Interfaith Bollywood Dramas: Evergreen stories of people standing up for each other regardless of faith

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Yash Chopra’s masterpiece starred Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in the lead roles.Yash Chopra’s masterpiece starred Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in the lead roles.Yash Chopra’s masterpiece starred Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in the lead roles.

By Reya Mehrotra

Lockdowns have been imposed and restrictions are back everywhere. However, stories of people standing up for each other regardless of faith have been flooding social media. As we step up to help each other from the confines of our homes, here are some interfaith Bollywood dramas to watch at home.

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The 2003 Indian period drama masterpiece stars Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpayee. It was based on Amrita Pritam’s Punjabi novel of the same name. The movie depicts Hindu-Muslim riots. Rashid (Bajpayee) is a Muslim man who kidnaps Puro (Matondkar), a Hindu, because of an ancestral dispute between their families. Soon her family disowns her. Eventually, the two fall in love.

Jodhaa Akbar
The 2008 movie by Ashutosh Gowariker starred Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. It was set in the 16th century and portrayed the romance between Mughal emperor Akbar and his wife Jodhaa who was a Hindu. Jodhaa is reduced to a political pawn as her alliance is fixed with the emperor for political reasons. But their mutual respect grows as they learn to respect each other’s faiths and eventually fall in love. The movie was a critical and commercial success.

Veer Zara
Yash Chopra’s masterpiece starred Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in the lead roles. Veer is an Indian pilot who saves Zara, a Pakistani Muslim, during a rescue operation. They fall in love, but Zara’s conservative family does not accept their alliance. Veer, who comes over to Pakistan for her, is taken captive by the Pakistani forces and jailed. Years later, when he is freed, he meets Zara and both of them, now old, decide to live together.

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha
The 2001 period drama by Anil Sharma was set during the Partition of India in 1947. Starring Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel, the movie became the highest grossing Indian film of that time. In the movie, truck driver Tara Singh (Sunny Deol) falls in love with a Muslim Pakistani girl Sakina (Amisha Patel) and they get married. However later, she is separated from her family as her father forces her to remain in Pakistan.

Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan’s Kedarnath was based on the 2013 Kedarnath flood tragedy that was labelled the country’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami. Rajput played a Muslim porter who ferries devotees to Kedarnath, while Khan played the daughter of a Hindu priest. Their relationship is opposed by her family and is put to test amid nature’s fury.

The 1995 movie starred Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala. Their relationship is met with opposition from their families as he is a Hindu and she a Muslim. They eventually get married and have twin boys whom they raise to appreciate both faiths and cultures. When the civil unrest unfolds in Bombay as a result of the riots between the two communities, their families come together to save their children and each other. The movie received critical and commercial success and awards like Filmfare and Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.

Dahek: A Burning Passion
The 1999 romantic drama starred Sonali Bendre who plays a Muslim girl from a conservative family. Akshaye Khanna plays a Hindu boy. When Sabina’s brother Jabbar finds out about her relationship, he kills her lover. Years later, when her daughter falls in love with a Hindu man, history repeats itself as Jabbar goes out to hunt the lovers who have eloped. This results in a rift between the two communities.

The 2012 movie starring Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor explores the theme of the Hindu-Muslim relationship yet again, but with a political twist. Parma (Kapoor) tricks Zoya (Chopra) into marrying him for vengeance. Later, she plans to avenge herself and her family by killing him, but they fall in love and elope. This is because their families are political rivals and can’t afford to have their children married as that would adversely affect their political image. In the end, their families kill the two to avoid suffering from humiliation before the elections.

Raanjhanaa starred Sonam Kapoor, Dhanush, Abhay Deol, Swara Bhaskar and Zeeshan Ayyub. Zoya (Kapoor), a Muslim girl, falls in love with Jasjeet, a Sikh boy, in her college. However, Kundan (Dhanush) reveals this to her family as he had been in love with Zoya ever since he was a child. The girl’s family attacks Jasjeet and he succumbs to his injuries. This leads to a series of events as Zoya plans to avenge his death and joins politics.

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