Governance · Public Policy

PK and MSG: Controversial much?

We have all been hearing a lot about the recent movies, namely PK and Messenger of GOD (MSG), being controversial and also being criticized in most parts of our country. PK, after being banned in Maharashtra, is being talked about the most. Is it really that controversial? People are accusing it of hurting the sentiments of Hindus in particular. But it is all about one’s opinion of what they think about the movie. Some people might even think it as a revolutionary movie after Oh My God which was trying to project a new insight about the image of God.

A 27-year-old unemployed graduate spends his mornings at a masjid, instead of going for job interviews; a society wife just held a lavish puja and dinner party after her husband was appointed as the vice-president of a leading telecommunications company; a husband travelled across the country to pray for the health of his beloved wife. If there is a creator who made us all, would he make you travel across the earth to heal your ailing loved ones? Or would he, like PK suggested, ask you to nurse them and care for them?
PK, the latest film by Rajkumar Hirani, has strongly been opposed by certain politicians, saints and gurus, but at the same time has also been supported by other politicians and film stars. But what has been widely ignored is this array of various reactions by viewers is that the film has been consecrated in the industry as a massive super-hit. Now the question that arises is ‘why’? Why has the public flocked to the theatres in large, often braving winter chills and crowded shows? And what have they walked away with at the end of the movie?”
I wonder. What is there in the movie to protest about?

Is it because movie has taught us to give that milk to a starving child on the street instead of offering it to Lord Shiva by pouring it on the Holy Shivalinga or because it taught us to give that Chadar to a shivering body instead of Dargaha?
Is it because movie exposed the reality of the ‘dhongibabas’ or because it tried to rebuild our faith in humanity above religion? It did teach us to put faith in the people by our side in times of crisis than to stand in front of the photos or statues of Gods with our arms spread wide and head bowed.

Is it because it taught us that our worship’s purpose is not merely to get our problems solved or because it taught us that we are not born with any religion, to quote the movie-“we’re not born with a thappa..”. It is our society, our family that taught us the belief and the meaning of the word ‘GOD’. We were born as humans! So before you take a step in the name of religion, move forward to take a step for Humanity!
The movie’s conclusion, though leaving much to be said, often stirs one into a long chain of experience, memory and action. Most viewers admit that PK raises pertinent questions. For some it echoes the extremism of every leader screaming “love jihad” in case of inter-religion marriages, and for some others it further establishes the perverted religious logic behind justification for heinous crimes by certain groups. These questions and the consequent consciousness is the reason for viewers across India hailing PK as a “wind of change”. Evidently, tolerance is on the rise and all reactionaries should take note.

Perhaps we are a fragile country, an inchoate, albeit delicate assembly of ideals and beliefs who could collapse at the slightest disturbance. Perhaps we are a country simmering with anarchy, on such a brink that can be swiftly undone by a Bollywood movie. Merely weeks after PK rode its controversies to the Box Office, here’s another movie that is supposedly poised to threaten our democracy, and make a fortune out of it.

The controversy surrounding Messenger of God (MSG) has revealed a ghastly truth about how our country is run, and the implications seem terrifying.
Those who have seen the movie or even the trailer, I am sure, are thinking of it as a highly exaggerated Sunny Deol movie where ‘Godman’Gurmeet Ram Rahim plays himself in an immensely larger-than-himself role, claiming to be a messenger of God, in the movie, standing high like a one man army throughout the movie  thereby inviting the ire of an entire community of Sikhs he has a hefty record of offending. If that’s a case, then I am sure the Indian army would very much want him on their side. Jokes apart, it all depends on the opinion of oneself about the movie. People can either give it a pass thinking of it as just another “Bollywood movie” of the kind that defies all the laws of physics with cars and people flying around. Or give it a hard time like they actually did which resulted in the movie still being aired.
Also, two high-ranking officials of the Censor board have resigned in the light of the controversy, citing ‘excessive interference’ from the government in its performing of its duties.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who exercises a strong army of supporters and a sizeable political clout, was known to be a Congress supporter but had switched his loyalties to the BJP just before the 2014 elections. The quick clearance given to the movie is seen as a BJP payback to the Dera chief.

The SAD, the Indian National Lok Dal and various Sikh outfits protested actively in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh, even as the Dera chief thanked the Almighty for His divine sleight of hand that apparently led to his movie being cleared for release by the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).
We need to understand that this is not to be dismissed off as yet another show down between the groups. This is not an isolated case of Government pushing its agenda on the body, as the Board recently had to put up a strong stand to defend the movie PK, even as they were under pressure to force certain changes to it. To not consider the ramifications of these statements is a blind denial of a cancer that has slowly been eating into the very fabric of our democratic ideals.

About the Author

IMG_20140806_130008-1Prachi Jain is a third year student pursuing her B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) from Mody University. Being a law student, she is interested in the political framework of different countries and likes reading on international issues. She loves blogging and runs her own blog. Besides that, she is very passionate about dance and is also associated with an NGO in Madhya Pradesh. Currently, she is interning with the Model Governance Foundation.

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