Wednesday, December 31, 2014

#BoycottPK: Should injured sentiments be the basis of censorship in India?

#BoycottPK: Should injured sentiments be the basis of censorship in India?
Nagpur: Muslim activists protest against Aamir Khan starrer 'PK' in Nagpur on Tuesday. PTI
The recent controversy with the release of PK starring Amir Khan, brings us back to the age old question: who are the people whose sentiments are hurt? Films are a powerful tool. But how shallow a belief can be which gets hurt by someone else’s interpretation? PK, directed by Rajkumar Hirani, faced criticism by select few who think it is propagating ‘Love Jihad’ and projecting Hindus as ‘god-fearing’ and not ‘god-loving’. Because of this #BoycottPK has been trending on Twitter.

A film is an individual’s point of view, which may be liked by the majority or not. Every individual has right to reject the filmmaker’s point of view. Similarly the filmmaker should have the privilege of sharing his or her ideas with the audiences without facing any kind of protests. This article says that few Hindutva groups are angry because of the portrayal of religion in the film.

Sometime back Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal came up with the film OMG- Oh My God. The film, more or less, tried to say the same thing which Rajkumar Hirani expressed with PK. There was no controversy around the film. Paresh Rawal, was a known BJP supporter then. He is now a Member of Parliament of BJP. Akshay Kumar is largely an apolitical figure, and officially a Hindu in the eyes of the society. If these two say anything about the institution of religion, people appreciate it, accept it (though there has not been any impact of film on the society), but the moment Amir Khan, an evident Muslim in the eyes of the ‘protecters of the society’, tries to critically examine the society in creative limitations, he is seen as an enemy. This dual-standard pretty well explains a major problem with the Indian society- lack of trust in the so called “other”.

This also brings us to term the managers of religion will never allow majority of the society to think, because it affects their business. PK tries to do that. This gives the managers reason to criticise intention of Hirani (who has been named Irani by twitter fanatics, for obvious reasons), and also propagate their belief.

The controversy surrounding PK makes us realise that there is a strong pressure by the fundamentalists to create a regressive society, and undo the progress of many generations. This is the biggest threat to a free thinking society. Few days back Vishal Bharadwaj’s Haider went through the same boycott syndrome by the protectors of India. Vishal received bitter criticism by many. He did the same thing- tried to explore the other side of truth, which people are not comfortable to hear.

How long do we plan to be slaves of these protectors of society? Religion is a personal matter, and making business out of it must be questioned by us. If Hirani does it, it certainly helps in the long struggle to create a ‘religious-managers-free society’.

This article was first published on on December 30, 2014

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