This Article is From Oct 03, 2015

Mumbai Play Called off After Objections by Religious Groups

A play titled 'Agnes of God' has been called off after religious groups objected to it.

Mumbai, Maharashtra: Even before its first show, a play titled 'Agnes of God' has fallen foul of some religious groups, including the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India, which has written to the Union Home ministry asking for a ban on its performance altogether, claiming it hurts their religious sentiments.

The play is based on a true story adapted from an American play that was also made into an Oscar nominated film where the lead, Sister Agnes, gives birth to a child and claims she is a virgin.

"The most offensive is the title itself which is meant to be the Lamb of God that's Jesus himself and his immaculate conception," said Joseph Dias of the Catholic Secular Forum, who has raised similar objections in the past against others, which include the group of stand-up comedians, AIB roast.

Despite a booking done at Sophia Bhabha Auditorium more than four months ago, the premier show was suddenly cancelled last Monday. The auditorium authorities could not be reached for comment for their sudden change of heart.

The Archbishop of Mumbai has strongly protested against the portrayal of the nun in the posters, but they are not in favour of a ban.

What's perhaps most ironic is that the same 'Agnes of God' was performed at Sophia auditorium and others more than two decades ago and was very successful.

Director of the play, Kaizaad Kotwal told NDTV, "I think we are retrograding, regressing. If this play could be tolerated 25 years ago in India and there are issues now, what are we saying about India today. By doing a work of art you could be thrown in prison is a threat in my view. I'm seriously concerned. This is based on a true story. We haven't concocted anything."

After the sudden loss of venue, the cast and crew have found a new host in National Centre for Performing Arts in South Mumbai, where a special show for invitees has been scheduled for October 5.