Sara Ali Khan’s debut film Kedarnath has stirred controversy prior to its release for allegedly promoting the idea of ‘love jihad’ (a term used to describe a phenomenon in which Muslim men feign love to dupe women belonging to non-Muslim communities into converting to Islam).
A PIL was filed in the Bombay High Court seeking an order to stay the release of the film, which is scheduled to hit theatres on 7 December. The Uttarakhand High Court on 6 December refused to stay the release of the film.
Swami Darshan Bharti of Garhwal had demanded that the film should be banned. The High Court said Bharti should go to the District Magistrate of Rudraprayag with his complaint.
The petitioner pleaded that the film promoted "love jihad" -- a word coined by right-wing Hindu groups, to denote marriages between Muslim boys and Hindu girls. Keeping in view the objections, the state government had formed a committee headed by Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj and comprising Home Secretary Nitesh Kumar Jha, Director General of Police Anit Ratoori and Tourism Secretary Dilip Jawalkar.
The committee has been asked to go through all aspects and submit a detailed report to the state government, after which a final decision on the film's release in Uttarakhand would be taken, an official told IANS.
The petitioners, advocate Prabhakar Tripathi and advocate Rameshchandra Mishra, have alleged that the film hurts Hindu sentiments stating in the PIL, “The storyline is cooked-up, imaginary, and the movie is a untrustworthy story of love between a Hindu Brahmin girl and a Muslim boy connected with the natural disaster of Uttarakhand.”
They have claimed that the filmmakers have outraged religious sentiments by “using the name and abode of Lord Shiva” and that they have filed the PIL in public interest to avoid disruption of law and order.
Directed by Abhishek Kapoor, Kedarnath is a love story set against the backdrop of the floods that ravaged the temple town in July 2013. The film marks the debut of Sara Ali Khan and also stars Sushant Singh Rajput.
Earlier, Hindustan Times had reported that Vinod Shukla, Chairman of the Kedar Sabha, an organisation of priests in Kedarnath, had also pushed for a ban on the film saying, “We will launch an agitation if the movie is not banned as we have been told that it hurts the Hindu religious sentiments by promoting ‘love jihad’.” He spoke about a "vulgar dance sequence” choreographed around the shrine.
Ajendra Ajay, a state BJP leader and part of Uttarakhand BJP’s media relations team had tweeted expressing similar sentiments, marking CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi and asking him to impose a ban on the film. He said that the poster “shows the hero, a Muslim carrying the heroine, a Hindu in a palanquin with the Kedarnath shrine as the backdrop.” He added, “Couldn’t the director find a single Hindu name or character for the main lead?”
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