The irony about Pakistan banning ‘Phantom’ is that almost everyone is going to watch the movie on pirated DVDs, anyway. Piracy is a plague in Pakistan and the government and the Courts have no handle on it.
The 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind, Hafeez Saeed, dragged the Saif Ali Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer to the Lahore High Court and urged for a ban on the film, as it posed danger to his life. The Jamaatud Dawa’s (JuD) chief is already living a paranoid life, fearing that the Indian authorities are hatching a plan to take him out. The terrorist also poked at the Court’s nationalistic fervour, pointing out that the movie would tarnish Pakistan’s image as well.
It was enough for the willing Lahore High Court to issue the ban, without going through the message in the movie, further proving that the country is going to the dogs! If you tell uncomfortable and awkward truths, movies get banned in Pakistan, and Phantom was expected to stir the hornet’s nest, anyway.
The movie represents the dream of a billion plus Indians. Just like the United States literally invaded friends Pakistan in the middle of the night to take out Osama Bin Laden, the Indian citizens, and perhaps even the Government, have for long mulled the idea of taking a similar step to end Mumbai’s terror attack chapter with Hafeez Saeed’s death.
India has the ability. It only needs to gather the gumption for it! The Indian Government must do a bit more than banning India-Pakistan cricket matches in protest of terrorist incursions and attacks! It has no impact on the issue at hand – of Pakistan reigning in murderous Islamists. Narendra Modi must think out of the box and set goals for the Indian Government, a step by step goal.
Identify Hafeez Saeed’s location, gauge the levels of security around him, learn his habits, his daily routine, form an attack team (US Marines style), equip them with the latest in night raids, perhaps even take another friendly country into confidence! Get the drones battle ready and be ready to sacrifice Indian soldiers’ lives! There will be costs. At best, they can be kept at a minimum.
Hafeez Saeed would be thinking about the same scenario, from his angle. No wonder, then, there is an impregnable layer of protection around him. So when he sees the movie, or hears about its theme, he gets rattled and his paranoia returns.
Phantom was bound to whip up a controversy. However, the success of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ in Pakistan indicated that Phantom would receive similar response. The Salman Khan-starrer did face resistance in the Pakistani political establishment, but it finally made it to the theatres and rocked! Director Kabir Khan was hoping for a similar fate, but it was not to be.
The movie trailer opens with vignettes from 26/11 attack and shows its main preperators – David Headley, Sajid Mir, Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10 million US government bounty against him, and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
Saif Ali Khan is a hired criminal assigned the covert task of locating and terminating Hariz Saeed, a thinly disguised reference to the JuD chief, who is a wanted man in India, hiding under Pakistan’s protection.
Pakistan is openly providing security to a global terrorist and no one seems to care. Substantiated evidence has been provided to the Pakistan Government, but they claim there are loopholes in the evidences.
There is no way for the Government to ensure that Phantom doesn’t reach Pakistani homes. Everyone will watch the movie, thanks to the vast pirated market. More people will watch the movie now.
This is what controversy does to you. It attracts that extra bit of interest in the event. Pakistan has shot in its own foot.