From Hollywood to Bollywood, we have seen this over and over again. Muslim being typecast as villains and terrorist in movies and TV shows. This interesting article in GQ really reflects on the reality of Hollywood. Talented good Muslim actors and artist have no choice but to take roles that puts them in compromising situations. I have also read somewhere, that some Muslim actors were offered $30,000 fora couple of days shoot to be terrorist #5. A role with no name, but a line in a movie that says "Allah u Akbar" and the he shoots people. Then Mr. Chuck Norris comes and saves the day by killing the terrorist! We need to break this stereotype and start making our own movies, and tell our stories.
Mostly, i feel this is due to ignorance and not malice. This is were we come in, as a Muslim community we need to take responsibility and make the effort to educate the masses. That is the reason we are embarking on a journey to change that, by producing "BURAAQ - The Animated movie". More information at www.splitmoonarts.com
If you like it or not, the popular medium of today’s entertainment world is TV, Movies, Internet and Music. You cannot avoid it, and if you think you can unplug from it, then you are isolating yourself from this generation and the next, might as well live in a cave. Few people have come up to us and said that what we’re trying to do with BURAAQ is “Haram”, and showing animated characters is not permissible in Islam. To them, I say good luck raising your children! These are the people who will stop you from doing it, but when Frozen 2, Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, Good Dinosaur etc… comes out, they will be the first ones standing in line to take their kids to the theatre. You know why? Because their kids are growing up in this society, where reading less books and being glued to your smart devices is a reality. By 2020 there will be 6.1 Billion smartphones in the world, and you want to unplug? Good luck!
The key is to find a balance, that is the prophetic way. Even our prophet PBUH had an expert poet at his side, because that was the medium of that time. Poetry was so powerful at that time, that Arabs use to go to war based on it.
Today the battle is between the ears, and more than ever, we need leaders who are spiritually sound, and firm in their faith to lead the effort in these areas. Islam teaches us balance, there is good and bad in everything, and we still need to be careful with what our children watch and listen.
When I was growing up in Pakistan, there were only 2 paths for our future, either a doctor or an engineer. If we talked about being a musicians or artists, the society would look down upon you and simply mark you as someone who doesn’t have a future. Now the times have changed. I would go further and say it’s the opposite. We don’t need more doctors and engineers. We need more Media representation, Artists, politicians and lawyers. These are the areas that are shaping our society, brainwashing the masses and taking over our narratives. It time for us as an Ummah (community) to counter it, and take back our narrative.
We need to support our artists and individual who are on this spiritual journey. They are struggling to change the narrative. These are the people who are going against the mainstream current, and trying to save what’s pure and clean.
Here is the list of 10 artists, personalities, producers, writers and musicians I admire and follow. They boost my Iman (faith) every day. I hope it benefits you too In sh Allah (God willing):
1- Sami Yusuf
2- Peter Gould
3- The Message
4- The Omar (RA) Series
5- Bilal The Movie
6- DEEN TV
7- Noor Kids
8- ILYAS and the DUCK
9- Nouman Ali Khan
10- Our Humble Effort - "BURAAQ"
The days of real Clark Kent (Superman) are gone. A true gentleman who grew up in the farmland of United States where his beloved parents from planet Earth instilled good moral values, and taught him respect for neighbors, women, himself and humanity. Steve Rogers (Captain America) also has similar qualities, who being brought up during World War II has a solid character with old fashion moral values. Both of them are rare role models in the world of superheroes. Nowadays, this does not exist. On the flip side, It’s cool for superhero characters to be troubled, dark, rebellious, sexist, rude and resorting to alcohol and drugs to cope up with their painful life. As parents and adults, do we want to see these negative values being amplified on the big screen? Seems like young minds are being shaped to think that these qualities will make them cool? Latest research shows that kids age (2-13) mimic superheroes the most compared to other genres. This a real dilemma that is having a global impact.
Every time we watch an action/superhero movie, the main character (male) is either getting drunk at a bar, womanizing, fighting needlessly, being a bad father, or just having a psychological break down. Why do we have to watch this? Isn’t real news from around the world negative, depressing and painful enough? We need an alternative, a superhero/action hero that has a strong moral compass deeply rooted in faith and optimism. A character that brings hope and enlightenment, where kids can be entertained and learn great values at the same time. Values which will them help them be better human beings and be prepared for the future.
At SplitMoonArts, we developed a strong and positive character called Yusuf , also known as “BURAAQ”. A superhero who is upright, just and well-mannered. The story of BURAAQ – “The Awakening” is not all unicorns and butterflies, but comprises of real life struggles and his challenges as a son, student, friend, employee and a human. His determination, strong faith and support of his family gives him confidence to leverage his super powers to face the evil Xiorg (The Villain from another dimension). He uses his super powers for the good of mankind, and he does it all without compromising on his principles and values.
Maybe is time to revive the essence of the real Clark Kent and Steve Rogers in the superhero genre, but this time through Yusuf Abdullah also known as “BURAAQ”
To learn more go to www.splitmoonarts.com
Marvel has really taken the lead in producing top grossing superhero movies for Disney. Bringing in an average of $110M in gross revenue, just on the opening weekend. Warner Brothers on the other hand, is struggling to find the right formula to produce consistent block busters. Why is Marvel consistently producing great superhero movies? It’ not like DC does not have similar or even more iconic characters, they have Superman and Batman! So why can’t they get it right? I believe this comes down to leadership, vision and execution.
Disney bought Marvel in 2011 for $4 billion, their investment is now paying off, big time! One of the main reasons for their success is originality. They kept the Marvels original comic book creative team intact, which didn’t flee the scene after Disney acquired them. Disney applied the same strategy when they acquired Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion, they kept them independent and didn’t move Pixar under their movie production organization. This team understands the superhero genre, their character profiles, their vulnerabilities, and their powers. This is how they make characters that are lovable and relatable. This team knows how to connect with their audience. Now that Disney has a profit sharing partnership with Sony, Spiderman is back in action, and is now part of the Avengers team, not to mention the lucrative Star Wars franchise which Disney bought for $4 billion. There is no stopping this block buster machine. They have plans to release superhero movies till 2025, in addition to Star Wars saga. This is what we call world domination! Just to put things in perspective, Disney revenue on merchandising alone was $56.6 billion in 2016. Yes, you read it right, think about this number the next time you go your local toy store and see all the Disney merchandise.
Warner Bros are in a corporate mess. After Christopher Nolan's successful Batman trilogy ($1 billion global revenue), somehow, they are finding it hard to make a comeback. In this competitive market, there is room for only one category king, and that’s Marvel Studios. Warner Bros have tried to mimic Marvel, by releasing solo superhero hero movies like Man of Steel, Superman vs Batman, but they have not been big block busters. Their production budget was out of control, averaging up to $200 million. By the time profits trickle down, they would make $600 million net, and that’s not measured as a success in this industry. The only exception was Wonder Woman, which was a surprise hit for the studios, they were not expecting to be one. To add salt to the wounds, their latest venture with Justice League was a big fiasco, bringing in only $98 million at the opening weekend, compared to Thor –Rangarok that brought in $116 million on its opening weekend. This is proof that Warner Bros had no clue how to make it work. I believe Zack Synder (Director for “300” and “Watchmen”) was a bad choice as a director, his vision for ionic characters like Superman and Batman was completely off base. Now, we have news that there is shuffling taking place in upper management and a new head for DC movies is being considered, I think this is a welcome move. With movies like Wonder Woman 2, Aquaman and Flashpoint in the pipeline, they need new leadership and director that can turn the ship around.
For me, the biggest disappointment over the years has been the failed attempt to reboot Superman. They attempted a reboot with “Superman Returns” in 2006, with Kevin Spacey and Brandan Routh, which was a good attempt, but lacked originality and story. Then Zack Snyder’s failed reboot with “Man of Steel” with Henry Cavaill (who has no facial expressions), was even worse than “Superman Returns”. Zack tried to carry over Christopher Nolan’s dark theme from Batman, thinking that this would be attract the same audience, and a will provide a smooth transition to upcoming Batman vs Superman movie. He made the movie dark and boring. The most amazing thing about Superman has been his flying powers. Everyone loved the feeling of flying with Superman, the experience and it’s grace. That's what made him Superman. Man of Steel tried to bring in realism with super-fast flying, where you cant even track where Superman is going, which killed the whole expericence.
We can only hope that one day a talented director can bring back the glory of the original superman. Warner Bros. need to step up their game if they want to be category kings. This will be an uphill battle with Disney always one step ahead. Only another block buster like the Batman trilogy would bring them back on the map. Lets hope our beloved superhero characters like Superman and Batman get better treatment in the future, without Zack Synder on the drivers seat.
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