The movie Razakar: A Silent Genocide of Hyderabad, produced by a BJP leader is set to release on March 1, 2024. The movie claims to tell the story of the eponymous Muslim paramilitary troupe, the Razakars and an account of their brutality directed primarily towards Hindus in the erstwhile Hyderabad state. Set in the background of Hyderabad's annexation to the Union of India, the movie explains Operation Polo, the involvement of former Deputy Prime Minister Vallabhai Patel and Hyderabad’s last Nizam Osman Ali Khan’s attempts to stay as an independent state’s ruler.
The new trailer for the movie like the previous teaser released in September 2023 is cloaked in an Islamophobic account of history exaggerating details of how the Razakars enmass attacked Hindus with the sole aim to destablise their faith and establish a Muslim dominance over the erstwhile state of Hyderabad. The narrative does away with the geo-politics of post Independent India where states like Juagadh and Kashmir had also voiced their intent to remain independent. The trailer ends up painting freedom fighter and former Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel as a saviour who ensured that the rights of Hindus were preserved as opposed to the annexation of Hyderabad to the Union of India.
The Razakars were an active paramilitary force who attacked villagers and activists of the Telangana peasant struggle led by the Communist Party of India (CPI). However, the visuals, narrative of the movie Razakar clearly divides the group into an us-vs-them narrative, branding anyone belonging to the Muslim community as deeply villainous while the Hindus pass off as honourable and saintly.
It is worth noting that the movie was produced by Gudur Narayana Reddy, a BJP leader who wanted to release the movie in the run up to the Telangana Assembly elections when the state government was led by the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). BRS working president KT Rama Rao (KTR) had said in September 2023 that the state government would stop the movie’s release and bring up the issue with the censor board.
While campaigning for the Telangana Assembly polls, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Sardar Patel ‘liberated’ Hyderabad state from Razakars. The BJP has on multiple counts celebrated Hyderabad’s annexation to the Union of India under the banner of ‘Hyderabad Liberation Day’.
While the BJP has been actively involved in promoting the movie, Telangana BRS and Congress leaders accused the BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) of producing the movie with the intention of stoking communal tensions and gaining political advantage before upcoming state assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
The initial trailer released in September 2023, was met with severe criticism. Several filmgoers took to social media to call it blatantly Islamophobic, alleging that the trailer was intended to create hatred between communities by presenting a no-nuance narrative of the events that took place before Hyderabad was amalgamated into India. The film has also been accused of following in the footsteps of the likes of The Kashmir Files and The Kerala Story, both of which have been widely criticised for basing their accounts on stereotypes that paint Muslims as villains.