Top Ten Muslim Characters in Bollywood

Posted: February 2nd, 2016

Muslims have long played a major role in the Indian film industry. The industry has given us many Muslim iconic figures such as actor Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan, seen as the actor’s actor in Hindi cinema), actresses Madhubala (Mumtaz Jehan Dehalvi, for many the greatest beauty to grace Bollywood screens) and Waheeda Rahman (often in roles that cast her as a life and love tormented female before she was cast as that most quintessential of all Bollywood characters: the even more long suffering Ma). There have been great directors such as Mahboob and Kamal Amrohi. Since the 19990s, its biggest male stars are the three Khans: Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan, who no longer change their names to sound ‘modern’. Yet, Muslim characters in Bollywood, as it is known since the 1990s, are doomed to minor roles fated simply to represent their community and conform to a series of well-established stereotypes. Hindi films usually have lead actors and actresses who are north Indian upper-caste Hindus, who can be seen as ‘normal Indians’, while characters from other regions or religions are usually typecast, not infrequently in negative roles.

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