Do Bollywood Movies Accurately Portray The Indian Army?

Harin - Feb 24, 2020


Do Bollywood Movies Accurately Portray The Indian Army?

Bollywood has turned to military campaigns and surgical strikes for popularity. But these movies tend to be exaggerating in portraying the Indian army.

To gain popularity and to boost office success, Bollywood has turned to military campaigns and surgical strikes. But more often than not, these movies tend to be exaggerating in portraying the Indian army.

A few months ago, an image showing actor Vicky Kaushal playing Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw became viral, receiving praise for accurately portraying the polished look of the legendary Army man. But some Internet users also pointed out the errors in Kaushal’s uniform.

Vicky Kaushal Field Marshal Sam
Some Internet users also pointed out the errors in Kaushal’s uniform.

And the image fueled the debate that Indian movie-lovers have over an old question: Why can Indian filmmakers accurately portray military uniforms?

After the crew of Sam released its promotional picture, Lt Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain, an Army veteran posted on his tweeting, pointing out that the badges of rank on Kaushal’s uniform were in the wrong color.

However, in an interview, Meghna Gulzar, the movie director, clarified that it was only a test look. Gulzar said that the film’s production would begin in 2021.

She explained:

Quote

When films inaccurately portray uniforms

While there were only a few errors with Kaushal’s costume, the movie Naa Peru Surya Na Illu had the military uniforms all mixed up. Actor Boman Irani wore seen in an olive green uniform with the Army chief’s collar tabs, a shoulder insignia of the Army Medical Corps, among many errors.

Rustom, a Bollywood film released in 2016, also wrongly portrayed the Navy uniform. The film was set in the 1950s. In the movie, Akshay Kumar played navy officer Cdr K.M. Nanavati. But the medals that could be seen on his uniform were from much recent time. And on his shoulder boards, the “Nelson’s Rings” were reversed.

Uniform
In the movie Rustom released in 2016, Akshay Kumar played navy officer Cdr K.M. Nanavati.

In Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Shah Rukh Khan wore a combat dress with a formation sign. And in Holiday, Akshay Kumar had the Army Ordnance Corps’ cap bade while wearing the Infantry’s rifle green beret.

Indian Army has no rule regarding depicting uniforms in movies

Some people often mistake that filmmakers wrongly depict military uniforms since they aren’t allowed to portray the actual uniforms. However, according to an officer, there is no such rule.

The officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that while it is the creative freedom to show a military official with a beard, it is poor research to get the uniform wrong.

Other officers express that while they can ignore some small errors. They feel sad when many filmmakers end up mixing the badges and the medals completely, turning the uniform into some kind of joke.

Rana Chhina, a military historian, says that such errors are found not only in films but also in other forms of arts.

Directors also blame poor research

Shyam Benegal, a veteran filmmaker, blames a film’s costume team for such errors. He says that the depiction of military uniforms should be accurate. In filmmaking, research plays a critical role. For example, if a film is about the Haryana police from the 1970s, a team should research the uniform in that period.

Not all films got the uniforms wrong

Another movie by Kaushal, Uri, in which he portrayed an Indian Army major, depicted his uniform correctly for the most part. There’s only one scene where Kaushal could be seen wearing a peak cap while Para or Para SF officers often wear maroon berets.

Uri Uniform
Another movie by Kaushal, Uri, in which he portrayed an Indian Army major, depicted his uniform correctly for the most part.

1997 blockbuster Border from J.P. Dutta and 2003 Lakshya from Farhan Akhtar all accurately depicted the uniforms.

>>> Top 10 Patriotic Films You Should Be Watching In 2020

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