SRK’s Netflix show causes controversy, criticised by Pak Army

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ISLAMABAD: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan came under sharp criticism from the Pakistan Army after he shared the trailer of his new Netflix series ‘Bard of Blood’ on Twitter.

In a tweet, Pakistan Army Major General Asif Ghafoor slammed Khan for producing the series and asked him “to promote peace and humanity by speaking against atrocities in Kashmir.” Asif Ghafoor is the chief spokesperson for Pakistan’s armed forces and Director General, ISPR.

The series is based on a book of the same name by Bilal Siddiqi. The trailer begins in Balochistan (a province in Pakistan), where Indian spies have been captured and are about to be decapitated before they could relay an important piece of information to India. Former spy Kabir Anand (played by Emraan Hashmi) is called by the PMO to go to Balochistan for a rescue mission along with Isha (Sobhita Dhulipala) and Veer (Vineet Kumar Singh). And then what follows is a thrilling journey of these three spies on a rescue/suicide mission to Balochistan.

Ghafoor’s attack on Khan comes at a time when relations between India and Pakistan have soured after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories

“A thrilling tale of espionage, vengeance, love and duty,” that’s the description Shah Rukh Khan has given to his latest Netflix venture, Bard of Blood. The show stars Emraan Hashmi in the lead role and was unveiled in a trailer on Netflix.

Hashmi plays RAW agent Kabir Anand who puts together a team comprising of Isha Khanna, played by Made in Heaven fame Sobhita Dhulipala, and Veer, essayed by actor Vineet Kumar to save four Indian spies captured in Pakistan’s province of Balochistan.

Khan producing a Netflix show is no big deal. However, given the current political environment between the neighbouring countries, Khan’s Bard of Blood could only make it worse.

Soon after the trailer came out, Pakistani Twitter lit up and slammed the Dilwale actor for his jingoistic approach to the already intense tensions. One of the prominent names to criticise Khan was DG ISPR Asif Ghafoor who asked King Khan to use his stature to promote peace and speak against atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Taking to Twitter, Asif Ghafoor wrote, “Stay in Bollywood syndrome Shah Rukh Khan. For reality see RAW Spy Kulbhushan Jadev, Wing Commander Abhinandan and the state of Feb 27, 2019.”

He added, “You could rather promote peace and humanity by speaking against atrocities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and against Hindituva of Nazism obsessed RSS.”

Others called out the show for banking on a cliched narrative. “As if we haven’t seen a series like this a million times before. Bring back the Veer-Zaara SRK,” Ayesha Malik, the Pakistani-American woman who called out Priyanka Chopra for her stance on Kashmir recently, shared.

“It will serve India far better if you guys make a series based on actual events that is rogue spy agency RAW sending agents like Kulbhushan Jadhav to train terrorists in Balochistan and Pakhtunkhwa but they keep getting arrested, and India failing to get them back,” another user Asfandyar Bhittani wrote. “Food for thought.”

“Extremely disappointed to see another Bollywood star like Shah Rukh Khan falling to the level of jingoistic, one sided, short sighted, almost selfish propaganda to probably ‘fit in’ the Hindu supremacist environment and to poorly prove their loyalty. True stars are sensitive not selfish,” Fereeha Idrees penned.

 “I have always respected you and expected you to use your huge influence and celebrity power to bring peace and love between Pakistan and India. This will only spread more hatred and will create a false image of Pakistan and Muslims. Sad. Disappointing,” Komal Shahid tweeted.

Recently, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Saif Ali Khan starrer, Sacred Games second two also garnered a lot of criticism for anti-Pakistan plot line.

It was observed in Pakistan that the second season that was released on August 15 not only maligns the reputation of Pakistan and its security agencies but critics and audiences have unanimously concluded that show doesn’t offer much; thematically and aesthetically.