This is sort of an odd post to make. Obviously, as an American, I have a very complex and personal and emotional relationship to 9/11. For one thing, it’s also my Grandpa’s birthday (95 today!). But I want to set aside the American part of it for a post, and take a quick look at how Indian film has struggled with the changes 9/11 brought on the world. (obviously, all kinds of trigger warnings and I understand if no one wants to read this post, but I felt like I should make it)
I didn’t really think about Indian film and 9/11 until I was researching a paper on My Name is Khan. Which is a film that did a really good job both addressing the tragedy, and then the subsequent tragedies of how it changed the way America interacted with its citizens. Actually, it did a better job bringing these things to light than any American film I can think of.
New York came before My Name is Khan, and did some of the same things (the story of an average immigrant and how 9/11 effected him) but not quite as well. It had an complicated plot that sort of lost track of itself and tried to do too many things. But when it was just about John Abraham trying to recover from being imprisoned by the country he loved, and to find a way to keep living there afterwards, then it was interesting.
And then there’s Tere Bin Laden, which manages to be both sincere and funny at the same time, showing the unintended consequences of America’s “War on Terror”. Really, if you are trying to fight the vague depression and fear that always comes with this anniversary, I highly recommend watching Tere Bin Laden. It’s mostly good people mostly just trying to get along and laugh at how crazy the world is.
But really, for me, it all comes back to My Name is Khan.