The use of Urdu in film titles is something that has been lost in Indian cinema, along with the film genre called the ‘Muslim social’. The ‘Muslim social’ was a sub-genre of Bollywood drama about love, marriage, family, festivals, customs, rituals and so on, the usual staple of Bollywood cinema. The only difference, which seems major today as it has gone missing, is that the characters, settings and contexts of the film were Muslim. Such films and soaps were not thematically different or qualitatively superior to the usual Bollywood films and soaps. 

Muslim socials were being made up to the 1990s. Nowadays, films in which the major characters are Muslim and/or speak Urdu get made only within certain contexts – to make ‘serious', socio-political films.

Shvetal Vyas is a PhD student in the International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding.

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