Chorus Against Aamir’s Laal Singh Chaddha Mounts
The massive public outcry against Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha is getting shriller by the day. It’s not only the movie buffs who are decrying it; but also a huge section of intelligentsia and film connoisseurs who have joined the protest bandwagon.
They have taken strong exception to Aamir’s depiction of a certain sect in a manner that is “completely unjustified and unfounded”. Some say it is a ripple effect of the angst he sparked in PK and his uncouth comments on how his then-wife felt insecure in India.
Public memory isn’t short; it does remember the hurt of an old wound. And this has become apparent with the mounting protest that is reaching every nook and corner.
“This is a sign of the reawakening of the Hindu masses. It also sends a clear message to Aamir Khan that portraying things which are Hindu-targetted isn’t progressive,” said Dr Baladaan Barhath, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur.
Praveen Chaturvedi, a Mumbai-based filmmaker, pointed out that the boycott is an indication of enlightenment of the masses about what is right and what is wrong. “You can’t take them for a ride or keep manipulating them. It is a bottled-up anger that is venting out now. People are shouting out against ideological subversion.”
Social media is swamped with calls to boycott the film. And the campaign has snowballed into a sort of movement. In the first three days after its release, most multiplexes struggled to find audiences for Laal Singh Chaddha.
“It is sure to be the biggest debacle of Aamir’s career. It sends a clear message that if you hurt religious sentiments, you will have to face the heat and backlash,” pointed out Sudhir Dubey, a film critic, reviewer, and songwriter, based in Indore.
“This protest is not only against the actor, it is also the subject matter of the film. It is a protest against Aamir’s bad propaganda. It is a scathing attack on the actor who questions money spent on temple construction and ridicules Hindu icons, ” underlined Dr Barhath.
Dubey added, “A scene in PK was unsavoury. People didn’t forget it. Aamir’s past will haunt him. Actors, filmmakers, and everyone associated with films must remember that they shouldn’t show anything that hurts people’s emotions. Care should be taken or the impact will be far-reaching as it is happening now.”
Ajat Jamwal, a Jammu-based social activist, said that Aamir’s visit to Turkey didn’t augur well. His meeting with the Turkish president and his wife had a negative effect on the people. His attempts to glorify Pakistanis left a bad taste, he added. Talking about the film, he said Aamir’s portrayal of Sikhs and Army officer has hurt nationalists.
“The opposition is not because Aamir is a Muslim or else actors like Irrfan, Kader Khan, and Mehmood wouldn’t have been so popular. To support one’s religion doesn’t mean one is supporting the BJP or the RSS. It is taking up the cudgels against those who disrespect our religion,” said Dr Barhath.
Chaturvedi averred, “You can’t go on showing villains with a tika and make the audience believe that Muslim characters are always good. Moreover, who wants to see a remake of a 1990s Hollywood film, in which facts are distorted? They don’t want to buy the shit anymore. They are now more aware, patriotic, and nationalist.”
As the protest assumes monstrous proportions, the producers and makers of Laal Singh Chaddha are rattled by the losses it is incurring. Will it serve as a lesson for Aamir? “If he doesn’t learn from this episode, the repercussions could be far nastier next time,” warned Jamwal. The writing is clear on the wall.