By Vini Bhatti

Edited by Nandini Bhatia

“Did we create God, or did God create us?”

An attempt to delve into the intricate relationship between religion and God and most importantly, the operation of religion in guarding the movement on the path of Godliness was made by Raju Hirani in his much awaited film “PK” starring the Mr. Perfectionist himself, Aamir Khan. Released on 19th December 2014, this movie entered in the list of the most successful movies of the year in its first few days itself. In spite of an impressive performance, the entire team of the movie has little reason to rejoice as the movie is caught in a labyrinth of controversies

The adorable PK, Aamir Khan’s character was sent from his planet to study earth and the human beings residing on it. The moment he entered the planet from his eccentric spaceship, his remote control was snatched by a local thief. The loss was immense as the remote control was his only source of communication to his native planet. His journey to locate his dear possession brought him to the belief of God and in his earnest search for him; he ends up unveiling the hypocrisies inherent in the idea of religion and the manipulations involved in the organised religious sector through his simpleton logic and antics.

With dialogues as powerful as “jo darr gaya wo mandir gaya” used to showcase a God fearing society and pertinent questions like “Can God ever disapprove of education for Muslim girls?”, this movie didn’t go down well with religious fanatics as it was accused of hurting the “Hindu sentiments”. Its contents were viewed to be so  “provocative” by Hindu outfits that they vehemently demanded a “boycott” of the movie and demanded for those associated with it to be ostracised from the society, clearly declaring a movement towards religious conservatism.

The sensitive issue taken up in the movie coupled with a blunt, hard hitting execution brought into the fore front the complicated relationship between religion, faith and God which is faced by the society since time immemorial. Religion, in the present scenario, is one of the most potent divisive forces which has paralyzed the rational centre of the society as we have ceased to view ourselves as “humans” who belong to a single fraternity.

The movie aimed to question the irrationality associated with the blind faith irrespective of religious affiliations. It took a swipe at the organised market in the name of religion which flourishes by exploiting the faith of naïve devotees. It questioned the presence of fraud “babas” or godmen in Hinduism in the same breath in which it objected to the fatwas against the education of girls in Islam, carefully erasing all biases and laying down a secular assertion. Even the depiction of romance in the movie in which a Hindu girl falls in love with a Muslim boy simply urges the people to elevate from rigid religious demarcation and shape a more integrated and cohesive society but it was given a “love jihad” angle by Hindutvawallas.

The right wing ideologist lashing out at Aamir Khan claiming that since he is a Muslim, he would never dare to target Islam in a way he has targeted Hinduism is a careful disassembling of the secular foundation upon which the variegated nature of our country rests, revealing a strong xenophobia towards Muslims. This utter rejection of his expression on grounds of his religion is taking a clear departure from our “embrace all” nature.

As the movie raises pertinent questions without offering any kind of answers, I would also like to leave my readers with a question which motivated me to write this piece of work.

Is seeking a ban on a piece of art on the assumption of hurting ‘religious’ sentiments justified while we strive to nourish a society based on ‘Unity in Diversity’?

Vini Bhatti is a 2nd year English literature student at Hans Raj College, Delhi University. A passionate theatre artist and debater, she ardently believes in the power of self composed thoughts on paper as it gives her a sense of distinctiveness amidst the crowd and empowers her to think, believe and grow. Her interests range from public speaking, voracious reading and listening to vibrant music.

Posted by The Indian Economist | For the Curious Mind