(Ravish Kumar is Senior Executive Editor, NDTV India)
Opposition against films and attacks on theatres have happened in the past as well. Insults against culture and religion have taken place earlier also. All that is happening today with the release of 'PK' has happened earlier as well. Things that are being said today for and against the motion have been said in the past as well.
Whose fault is it? Is it those 'babas', who cheat people in the name of religion, or is it those who make films and dramas on such 'babas'? Haven't incidents which involved people who act like Gods in a world of mortals played out in real life? The things that self-declared religious and spiritual leaders like Rampal and Asaram have done: are they in accordance with the greatness of religion?
Those who tear posters of 'PK' - I ask, why don't they tear posters of such 'babas'? Do they consider themselves to be the protectors of people who cheat others in the name of religion? Should the protection of law be given to such organisations which masquerade as the protectors of religious belief? Who decided that these people are the representatives of true religion?
In 2012, the film 'Oh My God' had released. It is said that 'PK' is similar to 'Oh My God'. In 'Oh My God', the co-producer was Paresh Rawal, who along with Akshay Kumar, played a lead role in the film. Groups like Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and according to media reports, even the women's group of the Punjab Congress, had organized protests against the film back then. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, in a RSS meeting, had said that people were attacking Hindu Gods and Goddesses and she would raise the issue in parliament.
Back then, Ms Swaraj was in the opposition; she is now the External Affairs Minister. Actor Paresh Rawal is today a BJP MP and considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Back then, Mr Rawal had said that they had made the film after a lot of thinking. I too believe in God, but I am against all those dishonest means which are used to reach God, he had said.
The issue today is not about Paresh Rawal being a Hindu or Aamir Khan being a Muslim. The question is whether anybody is willing to stand up to question the wrongs being committed in the name of religion. In the film 'PK', questions have been raised about the theatrics surrounding religion, but it is not limited to a particular faith. In the end, the film teaches us, every religion says love one another and trust one another. Doesn't this make a religion better? Were all those leaders who opposed social evils such as child marriage, 'Sati' and untouchability disrespecting Hinduism?
If someone feels that the film has targeted only Hinduism, then they should watch Pakistan film maker Shoaib Mansoor's movie 'Khuda Ke Liye'. This 2007 film is even more direct than 'OMG' and 'PK' in sending the message home. In the film 'Khuda Ke Liye', Mr Mansoor has not taken the help of comedy. In fact, it has said that Islam cannot be measured by the beard of a Muslim (daarhi me deen nahee hota
). There have been quite a few films and written works which have questioned Islam.
In the month of June, PM Modi had said that the government would like to free people's minds by getting rid of superstition and false belief. He had told medical students at a gathering at AIIMS that India should think about expanding technical and scientific knowledge.
The lifespan of faith and culture is much more than the ones who play politics in its name. It would be better if leaders and workers of such organisations watch 'PK' and oppose it with ethical reasons because that is their right. It is not correct to indulge in acts such as tearing posters and asking for a ban on the film. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this blog are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing on the blog do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.