Sanam Saeed shares her two cents on stereotypical portrayal of Muslims in Bollywood
Thanks to Sidharth Malhotra’s “typical and cliched” version of a regular Muslim depicted in Netflix India’s newest offering Mission Majnu, Indians and Pakistanis can now share their opinions and feel queasy together.
When the debate about how Muslims, especially Pakistanis, look in real life started online, Lollywood actress Sanam Saeed also chimed in to give her opinion. Given her grandeur and influence, the 37-year-old actress’ opinion busted the myth of the stereotypical Muslim man with kohl eyes and saying ‘adaab’ in every sentence.
Discussing the topic with ‘Brut India’ and Bollywood’s ban on Lollywood artists, the actress felt confused as to why politics mars cross-border collaborations with hate. The Zindagi Gulzar Hai famed actress also shared her favorite Bollywood film, Queen, reasoning the relatability factor as the driving force.
When the conversation moved to Muslims’ depiction in Bollywood, the actress felt that “it wasn’t a spectacle.”
“Of course, we always make fun of how Muslims are portrayed in Indian films with the kajol [kohl], namaz ki topi [prayer cap] and the green in the background somewhere to show that this is a Muslim person or Muslim community. It gets too political, they’ve always been highlighted as the enemy,” Saeed added.
Displeased, the actress said she doesn’t remember watching any projects where the two nations are friends instead of enemies; which is far from the reality since Indo-Pak “collaborations are happening at every level”.
Reminiscing the collaborations between Lollywood and Bollywood artists before the ban, the Dil Mera Dharkan Teri diva suggested that it felt quite natural for her to watch the cross-border ventures. “It was exciting, it was about time. It felt very exhilarating, very liberating and kind of complete that finally these two hubs of culture, creativity and art were collaborating to form even greater stuff.”
Discussing the aftermath of the 2016 Uri attack which prompted the ban, Saeed suggested, “It was a bit of a rude awakening, confusing — why mix politics with art and culture? Tragic but also, I guess we all got over it, it is what it is — you can’t fight it, there’s nothing you can do about it. Except stuff like this, what we’re doing now.”
The Deedan star added that despite everything, the artists are trying to work together.
When asked about her own Indian venture, ZEE5‘s Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam, the actress opined how the situations were different in nature. Saeed also commented on how Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan were at the forefront of an unofficial ban on Pakistani artists.
“I never worked in Bollywood — this isn’t Bollywood, Bollywood is a completely different ballgame. By the time I was getting my foot in the door, the ban had come. Fawad [Khan] and Mahira really were at the brunt of it so I’m sure they are nervous and scared because of how they were treated.
“It’s definitely a confusing place to be in when one second you’re here and the next second you’re completely let go off. I can totally understand why Mahira would be nervous to take that step again because that was a tough step exit for them,” the Cake diva added.
On the work front, Saeed will next be seen in Ishrat Made in China, Aan, and Umro Ayyar – A New Beginning.