Home Culture Controversial Film on Bangladesh Opens in India

Controversial Film on Bangladesh Opens in India

by AFP
A still from ‘Children of War.’

A still from ‘Children of War.’

Pakistan’s censor board says Children of War will be banned in Pakistan if it denigrates the country’s armed forces.

A Bollywood film that spotlights atrocities committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence releases across India on Friday, with the production likely to spark controversy in Pakistan.

Children of War revolves around civilians caught in the nine-month conflict that pitted Bangladeshi independence fighters against Pakistani forces. “The film looks at human stories and personal stories of how they suffered and how they came out victorious. It is a largely fictional film made up of true stories,” said director Mrityunjay Devvrat. He said that the film “focused on the weapons Pakistan used in 1971, which were not just guns and tanks but also rape and religion.”

The director says in the film that three million people were killed in the war—a figure also cited by the current Bangladeshi government—although independent researchers put the death toll at between 300,000 and 500,000 people. The conflict forced as many as 10 million refugees to flee to India, according to UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency.

The film, initially called The Bastard Child but changed on advice of India’s censor board, shows women tumbling out of the back of a truck into a rape camp. In another scene, an orphaned child cries beside a river of blood.

“Not many people know much about Bangladesh or care about it,” said Devvrat, who grew up partly in Bangladesh while his parents were working there. “The aim of Children of War is to change that and make people understand, among other things, why there are so many Bangladeshis in India,” he said.

Under the partitioning of the subcontinent which followed the end of British rule, the Muslim-majority area now known as Bangladesh emerged as East Pakistan and was twinned with West Pakistan. India entered the Bangladesh independence war during the final days in 1971, siding with forces under nationalist leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The film has already sparked anger in Pakistan, where it is likely to be banned. In an article in January, the English-language daily The Nation said the film was being released “to tarnish the image of Pakistan and its armed forces around the world.”

An official from the Central Board of Film Censors in Islamabad said that no request to show the film had been received—but that no one would dare try to screen an anti-Pakistan movie in any cinema in the country. “We will not allow its screening in Pakistan if it is against Pakistan and its armed forces,” he said. “I think no one has the courage to show such a film in Pakistan. How could we approve a film which is based on one-sided Indian propaganda?”

Devvrat defended the movie, saying it was not meant to blame the Pakistani people. “Our aim has never been to attack Pakistan or belittle their people, and nor have we said that the people of Pakistan are responsible for what happened,” he said. “What happened was the work of power centers, it was not endorsed by the people.”

In 2010, Bangladesh’s government set up a special tribunal to try those accused of murder, torture, rape and arson during the conflict. Most of those on trial are allegedly members of pro-Pakistan militias who fought alongside Pakistani forces against the country’s independence.

Related Articles


Amin May 16, 2014 - 6:42 pm

Hopefully the film will change Narendar Modi’s opinion about Bangladeshi Muslims in India who have been given notice to pack their bags and leave after May 16. After all, Bengalis on both sides of the border share a common culture, don’t they? And the philosophy of Hindutva is generous enough to accommodate all religions, isn’t it?

amit a June 4, 2014 - 11:33 am

So what do you expect. India should allow illegal immigrants

pappu May 16, 2014 - 9:09 pm

Truth hurts.

Sultan Jamshed. May 19, 2014 - 2:55 am

If you steer the stagnant water, it would surely give a stinking odour.

sartah hussain May 19, 2014 - 10:47 am

This is a big academic issue and needs a debate and writings on this issue should be allowed .why Pakistani authorities disallowed, banned any kind of material and talk on this matter it is necessary to bring the facts and details of the separation of East Pakistan And the reasons and characters responsible nationally and Internationally ,only a Film can not destroy pakistan why authorities in Pakistan always scared of truth and correction of the history and punishments to the responssibles of this disaster of the separation of the Eastern wing of pakistan and turned into a new state BanglaDesh though the Korea, Vietnam and Germany divided but remaind with their name only East Pakistan emerged as Bangladesh why? though West Bengal is still the part of India. Pakistan is also facing dangers but no effort seems to bring people in confidence on the facts,

Salima, Karachi June 7, 2014 - 2:33 pm

We Pakistanis, are basically hypocrites, as we hate pure truth and like to invent our own version for convenience, control and comfort of the military to hoodwink the masses and continue the rule of feudal classes.

We are a rotten society in its totality without any surety or purity of purpose for common good of downtrodden, deprived and destitutes deprived of access to food, health and education!

shah June 10, 2014 - 10:10 pm

Though in the course of war atrocities may have been committed, but these war committed on both sides. India had no right to intervene in the internal affairs of Pakistan. Whatever the cause they are citing, it was planned on the part of India with the cannivnce of Mujib to divide Pakistan, and nothing else

amit a June 11, 2014 - 12:25 pm

Pakistan also don’t have any right to project itself the leader of whole muslim world. Pakistan also don’t have any right to export terrorists and terrorism to whole world. Pakistan don’t have any right to interfere in any nation’s internal matter. But still beggar pakistan always try to interfere in other nation’s internal matter like, kashmir, Afganistan, Palestine. Pakistanis are too worried about the ‘plight’ of Muslims & ‘minorities’ but only beyond its borders!I hardly believe there is any ‘civilian’ in Pakistan…Everyone there seems like a walking ,talking ,ticking time-bomb….All you need to do is give them a Islamic motive with a few rupees and bingo you have just activated a weapon..

Hyderabadi July 15, 2014 - 12:05 am

Yes amit since now you know us Pakistanis so well, don’t mess with us. Payback is a *****, so what you did to Pakistan in 1971, you are now getting paid in kind in Kashmir and elsewhere. So called karma at work. You used terrorism against Pakistan under the garb of East Pakistan’s right of self determination, so we will do the same in Kashmir, Mizoram, Punjab and wherever else we find people asking and needing our support against Indian hegemony.


Leave a Comment