Bollywood Knows More About the Balakot Air Strikes than the Govt?

Yeah, Bollywood’s on it.

4 min read
Why let the lack of facts or conclusive information come in the way of a potential Bollywood money raker?

Just days after the Pulwama terrorist attacks of 14th February and the resultant air strikes on Balakot by the IAF on 26th February, there were reports of Bollywood producers scurrying to register titles such as Balakot, Surgical Stikes 2.0, Pulwama Attacks and Abhinandan. Many of these titles were registered without any scripts in place or even plans to eventually make a film or web series. These were attempts to hold the copyright over a much sought after title, which could be sold and made a quick buck out of in the future.

While we imagined it might take a while for any of these projects to be announced, grapevine has it that Sanjay Leela Bhansali along with T-Series have already bankrolled a film on the Balakot air strike to be directed by Abhishek Kapoor. According to a report, the casting of the film is currently in process and the project is already in its research and development phase.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
While the makers claim that the film is a “salute and tribute” to the IAF, the big mystery is how much the research and development team on this project will be able to put together right now given that there is no clarity about what exactly took place during the Balakot air strikes.

Initially, there were unverified reports from “sources” about the strikes having killed 300 terrorists belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group, but the Defence Ministry is yet to make an official statement regarding this.

The international media has highlighted that there is no clarity whether anything significant had been struck by the IAF or if there were any mass casualties as an aftermath of the retaliation.

On the other hand, on 3 March, Amit Shah declared that over 250 terrorists were killed in the air strikes by IAF in Balakot. However, on the same day, Union Minister SS Ahluwalia asserted that the main aim of the air strikes carried out by the Indian Air Forces across the Line of Control (LoC) was to send out a message that India can hit within Pakistan if the situation arises. On the question of if the IAF was able to inflict any causality, Ahluwalia said that neither the Prime Minister nor any BJP spokesperson or any defence official had given any figures and there were only "unconfirmed” reports of around 300 terrorists being eliminated.

The latest information on the air strikes came in today, 4 March, when for the first time after the aerial strikes by the IAF in Pakistan’s Balakot, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa addressed the media in Coimbatore. Dhanoa said that the IAF had conducted “successful raids”, however he refused to comment on the number of casualties inflicted, calling it “the government’s prerogative.”

However, this complete lack of any information regarding the impact of the air strikes isn’t discouraging Bhansali and team from cashing in on the Pulwama attack. The huge success of Vicky Kaushal-starrer Uri: The Surgical Strike is too tempting to let go.

Why let the lack of facts or conclusive information come in the way of a potential Bollywood money raker?

Vicky Kaushal in <i>Uri.&nbsp;</i>
Vicky Kaushal in Uri. 
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Fact is, any film that eventually gets made on the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strike will be able to shield itself from scrutiny by hiding behind the disclaimer of “Inspired From Real Events”. This disclaimer in other words is basically a license to add any amount of fiction to a real event that could have been described in a mere sentence (because there’s only so much information that’s available in the public domain).

So, when a source close to the makers of the reportedly under production film on the Balakot air strike states, that the film will show the surgical strike as being a “100 percent successful operation which hit the enemy targets with precision”, you know that the makers largely have an eye on the box-office, even if they declare that their intention is to pay a tribute to India’s bravehearts.

With the makers of Uri: The Surgical Strike having made over Rs 200 crore at the ticket windows, the josh is definitely high in Bollywood right now. Why else would they act like they know more about the Balakot air strikes than the government?

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