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Covering Bin LadenGlobal Media and the World's Most Wanted Man$
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Susan Jeffords and Fahed Al-Sumait

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038860

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038860.001.0001

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Without Osama

Without Osama

Tere Bin Laden and the Critique of the War on Terror

(p.143) 8 Without Osama
Covering Bin Laden

Purnima Bose

University of Illinois Press

Tere Bin Laden (2010), an Indian independent film in Hindi, written and directed by Abhishek Sharma, is a madcap comedy about an ambitious Pakistani journalist, Ali Hassan, who stages a fake video of Osama bin Laden as his golden ticket to immigrate to the United States. The film provides a trenchant critique of global media, the War on Terror, and the capitalist aspirations of lower-middle and middle-class Pakistanis. This chapter focuses on how Tere Bin Laden articulates a critique of the War on Terror. It first considers how the opening segments of the film set up its dual concerns with the nature of the U.S. national security state as a racial formation and with an idealized version of the American dream that constitutes the desire for upward mobility in the imagination of elite Pakistanis such as Ali. It then turns to the film's representation of the War on Terror and U.S. foreign policy to analyze how it draws on the speeches of the actual Osama bin Laden and spoofs the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan by literally rendering it into a cartoon. Evaluating the filmmaker's and lead actor's claims that the film provides a generalized South Asian perspective on the War on Terror, the chapter explores Tere Bin Laden's representation of Pakistani civil society as constituted by a range of classes and aspirations that can be persuaded to cooperate with one another only in limited ways and as existing in an uneasy equilibrium with the state.

Keywords:   Indian films, independent films, Osama bin Laden, Abhishek Sharma, global media, War on Terror, national security, U.S. foreign policy, American dream, Pakistanis

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