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Bollywood Actioner Leads to Sikh Protests + Delhi Bombings

Jo Bole So Nihaal Sunny Deol: Sikh protestsSunny Deol in Jo Bole So Nihaal.
  • Starring Bollywood muscleman Sunny Deol – known for flag-waving actioners like Indian and The Hero: Love Story of a Spy – Rahul Rawail’s Bollywood action comedy Jo Bole So Nihaal has led to Sikh protests, calls for censorship, and a couple of movie-house bombings in northern India.

Bollywood action comedy starring Sunny Deol leads to Sikh protests + as-yet-unclaimed Delhi movie-house bombings

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

In the aftermath of two blasts at film theaters that left 1 dead and 49 injured in Delhi, special police units have been posted at more than a dozen theaters showing Rahul Rawail’s Hindi-language action comedy Jo Bole So Nihaal.

According to the Agence France-Presse, the Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), India’s leading authority in the Sikh religious community, has demanded that Jo Bole So Nihaal – variously translated as “He Who Believes Will Triumph” or “He Who Speaks Shall Be Fulfilled” – be banned worldwide on the grounds that the film’s negative portrayal of a Sikh character and its use of the Sikh religious chant as its title are offensive to Sikhs.

The SGPC has also condemned the Delhi bombings, asserting, as per the BBC, that “they had been carried out by nefarious elements seeking to malign the Sikh community.”

The protests, however, are having an effect. Last week, Jo Bole So Nihaal was withdrawn from theaters in the heavily Sikh northern state of Punjab. In Calcutta, the movie is being shown under tight security.

Starring Bollywood muscleman Sunny Deol, the Chuck Norris/Bruce Willis-ish hero of action/flag-waving fare, Jo Bole So Nihaal tells the unlikely tale of a kind-hearted Punjabi cop sent to New York City to aid the inept FBI track a terrorist intent on killing the U.S. president.

Bollywood’s censorship troubles

Bollywood films have had their share of ethno-religious controversy in recent months.

Earlier this year, the northeastern state of Assam banned Mani Shankar’s Tango Charlie, following widespread protests by its ethnic Bodo population.

Around the same time, Pakistani film star Meera outraged local radical Muslims because of a kissing scene in the Indian-made supernatural thriller Nazar, while radical Indian Catholics called for a ban of Vinod Pande’s Sins, which depicts a Roman Catholic priest (Shiney Ahuja) having an affair with a woman (Seema Rahmani) half his age.

Jo Bole So Nihaal cast

Besides Sunny Deol, Jo Bole So Nihaal also features Shilpi Sharma, Kamaal Khan, Thomas Tevana, Gary Castro Churchwell, and director Rahul Rawail as a terrorist.

The screenplay is credited to Sanjay Chhel. N.R. Pachisia produced.

Pachisia, it should be noted, had previously collaborated with Deol on Ziddi (1997), Arjun Pandit (1999), and Farz (2001).

In her generally positive BBC review, Jaspreet Pandohar compares the Deol-Rawail-Chhel collaboration to the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker-Brett Ratner flick Rush Hour.

“Bollywood Actioner Leads to Sikh Protests” endnotes

Jo Bole So Nihaal Sunny Deol image: MDR Productions.

“Bollywood Actioner Leads to Sikh Protests + Delhi Bombings” last updated in September 2021.

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