One of the most intense rivals on the cricket field, India and Pakistan are capable of turning a dead rubber into a fierce battle of egos.
Now, the film industries of these two countries have realised the box office potential of turning a movie into an ‘India vs Pakistan’ affair.
The age-old rivalry is given the re-make treatment with renewed vigour and often a cross-border love angle, after all, in Bollywood and Lollywood, love still rules.
Rated 9.2 by IMDB, Pakistan’s latest super-hit film 'Waar' seems fair give-back for a generation of cross-border bashing films coming out of India – including 'Ek Tha Tiger', 'Gadar' and 'Agent Vinod'.
In Shaan Shahid's 'Waar' (Strike), militants overrun a Pakistani police academy and kill 100 officers. An Indian spy and her accomplice are behind the success of the mission.
Pakistan’s first big-budget movie depicts every volatile aspect of Pakistan’s rocky relationship with India.
Even in Pakistan, 'Waar' has been denounced by some liberals wary of what they see as fiery nationalistic rhetoric and scenes demonising India.
The narrative is simple and packed with tense and well-paced action.
Indian villains team up with militants to plot spectacular attacks across Pakistan.
Pakistani security forces jump in and save the day.
'Waar' has proved to be hugely successful, attendees leapt to their feet to applaud the patriotic scenes.
Bilal Lashari, ‘Waar’s’ 31-year-old director, believes that too much is being read in-between the lines.
The fact that the Indian intelligence agency RAW features prominently has raised a few hackles.
Though Bilal confesses that there is a subtle hint of select Indian characters causing trouble in Pakistan, he re-emphasises that his is not a propaganda film and has to be looked as a 'high quality' entertainer.
The film has also revived the stagnating film industry in Pakistan.
If Pakistan's film industry has discovered this new means of minting money, Bollywood was flogging this potential script to death as early as the 1990s.
In the early 2000s, films like 'Gadar' and 'Maa Tujhe Salaam', were still based on blatant Pakistan-bashing scenes.
Recently, Saif Ali Khan's 'Agent Vinod' and Salman Khan’s 'Ek Tha Tiger' faced problems with the Pak censors boards.
Pakistan banned 'Agent Vinod' a few days before its scheduled release, most likely because of its critical portrayal of the Pakistan's generals and spies.
They are shown providing support to the Taliban in Afghanistan and scheming to set off a nuclear suitcase bomb in India's capital.
In 'Ek Tha Tiger' Katrina Kaif plays the role of a Pakistani spy posing as a scientist's part-time home caretaker while Salman Khan plays a RAW agent who falls in love with Kaif's character.
Films portraying love and peace between the two nations, work the reverse angle with some success - latest being 'Main Hoon Na' and 'Veer Zaara'.
Indo-Pak scripts are, by the final credits, a mirror reflection of the Indo-Pak political situation - one step forward and two steps back.
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