Pakistani film 'Waar' criticised at home for blaming terrorism on India

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 November, 2013, 5:46am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 November, 2013, 5:46am


Waar seems ordinary enough as an action movie - Pakistani forces fighting terrorism, a James Bond-like character hunting an assassin, a woman ensnaring a patriot with her sexual wiles.

But the Pakistani-made film playing to packed cinemas has some critics worried, because it suggests that the country's terrorism problem is not homegrown, but a sinister plot by outside enemies, particularly long-term adversary India.

The film opened four weeks ago and for a time was playing on all screens at many multiplexes.

The movie opens with a man illegally entering Pakistan and teaming up with an assassin. Both are supposedly working for India and are being hunted by security agents led by an army major whose family was killed by the assassin.

The movie is "trying to divert attention away from the actual source of the problems. And that's why I think it's a dangerous narrative," said Hasan Zaidi, a Pakistani director who runs the Karachi International Film Festival.

Columnist and cultural critic Nadeem Paracha said the idea that India is to blame for Pakistan's problems has long been prevalent in Pakistan, which tends to view itself as a bastion of Islam surrounded by enemies.

But the movie's director says people may be taking the film a bit too seriously.

"It's just a film, the same way that Hollywood has portrayed the good guys and the bad guys. It's not a documentary," said Bilal Lashari, 31. "I don't understand why some people are giving it credit for trying to explain the realities of what's going on."