Adipurush, the latest film based on the Ramayana, has kicked off a political storm, with many leaders across the ideological spectrum — from the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party to the Shiv Sena (UBT) and even a lone voice from the BJP — objecting to its portrayal of Lord Hanuman. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel announced that the State government would consider banning the film if the public demanded it.
The film, written by Manoj Muntashir Shukla and released on Friday, is under fire for crass dialogues and subpar special effects, but critics have found Lord Hanuman’s dialogues in the “Lanka Dahan” sequence particularly offensive.
Chhattisgarh to consider banning on Adipurush
Talking to reporters at Raipur, Mr. Baghel said that the film was an attempt to tarnish the image of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman. “The government will think about it [a ban] if people will raise a demand in this direction,” he said, claiming that the film was just another step in the direction of transforming the image of Lord Hanuman. “We have seen the gentle face of Lord Ram and that of Lord Hanuman drenched in devotion, but from the last few years, an attempt is being made to change this image,” he claimed. He also criticised the “indecent” language used in the film, underlining that Lord Ram has always been known as “Maryada Purushottam”, or the upholder of morality.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate panned the film for its use of vulgar language and attempt to promote the “business of religion.” The film, she said, does not compare to the Ramayana television series produced by Ramanand Sagar in the late 1980s. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said that the series ignited the hearts and minds of millions of viewers, and communicated the great culture, tradition and moral values of India.
“The author of that Ramayana was Ramanand Sagar, who did not hurt the feelings of crores of people with tapori (street lexicon) language, but imprinted a sweet, gentle and charming image of Siya Ram in the minds and hearts of the society,” she tweeted.
‘Suspend censor certificate’
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankhar Kapoor was the lone voice from the country’s ruling party protesting against the film. He urged Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur to re-examine the “controversial scenes and dialogues”.
“Film Adipurush is being opposed everywhere. Therefore it is requested that its controversial scenes and dialogues should be re-examined. The Censor Board should temporarily suspend its censor certificate and its exhibition should be banned till it is reviewed again,” Mr. Kapoor said in a tweet in Hindi.
‘BJP must apologise’
Joining the chorus, the Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh also denounced the film and demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leaders for offending the Hindu community. He further slammed several BJP Chief Ministers for their involvement in the film and giving it their “blessings”. Addressing BJP supporters, Mr. Singh said that BJP leaders are associated with the film, and it should cause them to reflect on the kind of individuals they are.
Calling for accountability, Mr. Singh said, “BJP has insulted Hindu religion and society through the offensive portrayal of Hindu deities and the use of derogatory language in the movie. For this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President J.P. Nadda, and all the BJP leaders who have blessed this offensive movie should apologise to the people of the country.”
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said that the film’s writer and director should apologise to the country for “the pedestrian dialogues written for the movie, especially for Lord Hanuman”.
“It hurts every Indian’s sensibility to see the kind of language being attributed to our revered gods in the name of entertainment. You make a movie on ‘Maryada Purushottam’ Ram and cross all boundaries of Maryada (dignity) for quick box office success is unacceptable,” she said in a tweet.