Slumdog Millionaire will release on 23rd January and it has started generating some controversy, first it was Amitabh Bachchan’s comments and now there is a Hindu right-wing group that is protesting about some scenes. Predictably, many of us will call this nonsense and probably an equal number will slam the film for these scenes and more.
The scene in question is one where a Hindu mob attacks a Muslim locality, the character of Ram shown in the riots as Jamal and Salim run for their lives.
I have no issues with what was shown in the film, there were some scenes I could not handle. To me, it's a film and no one is forcing us to watch it. But I have a question.
What if Muslims had been shown as attacking Hindus and a symbol of Islam had been prominently displayed in the scene? Every Muslim organization would have protested, a Fatwa would have been issued in Danny Boyle's name, the film would have been banned by , the list is endless. Would Danny Boyle have even dared to make a film with that storyline? I don’t think so.
However, the Government must make sure that this film is screened without any incidents. And show the same resolve in screening a film where Muslims or Christians are shown in a manner that they don't agree with. Protests are fine, every section of society has a right to express itself. But they must be willing to take responsibility for the impact of their expression and respect the rights of other sections as well.
I will leave you with this quote from an article in the International Herald Tribune
"The mistake we can never repeat is stifling criticism of cultures and religions for reasons of tolerance"
Have fun watching the film, it’s a good film although not as great as it’s made out to be.
UPDATE: There are more protests. The first one was actually a Tapeshwar Vishwakarma who filed a defamation suit. Slum dwellers are protesting against the title of the film here. I think pigs and mosquitoes are going to protest too – Why not Slumpig or Slumachhar?
UPDATE: Key people are still missing in action. It seems like they are busy threatening the owner of Karachi Sweets to rename his shop (thanks for the tip dustedoff) Apparently, a huge MNS rally is being planned in Thane (near Bombay) and they are likely to pass the shop. And the police has suggested that the shop owner rename the shop to “Mumbai Sweet House”.