In Bollywood these days, any story between Hindu and Muslim can run into trouble with fundamentalists. The latest is Kedarnath whose trailer has been attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. The Sara Ali Khan-Sushant Singh Rajput film got into trouble with a rightwing Hindu organisation that objected to its depiction of love between a Hindu and Muslim.
They knew what they were getting into. Director Abhishek Kapoor and the producers of Kedarnath now face protests from Kedarnath for propounding “love jihad”. A romantic relationship between a Muslim man and a Hindu girl.
The trouble doesn’t seem to be unforeseen. Once Shekhar Kapur had famously said, “Never make a film in India about love between a Hindu and a Muslim. It’s bound to spark off trouble.”
To add to their woes the film’s director, in all his wisdom, has chosen to insert a kiss between the couple in a 30-second teaser trailer that was released last week. “If that isn’t being deliberately provocative, what is? Why put the kiss in the first trailer of Kedarnath when you know you ’re playing with fire (by depicting a Hindu-Muslim romance),” says a veteran filmmaker closely affiliated to the ruling party.
One feels the film is not averse to sparking off a Padmaavat kind of controversy. Every film-trade expert knows Padmaavat made an extra 100 crores because it was controversial. Kedarnath could just as well be another controversial film, provided the box-office numbers match up with the protests.
On another hand, it’s indeed ironical and sad that a film has to be subjected to so much trouble for merely trying to tell a story. Will our filmmakers ever get the creative freedom to make what they want? Or will it forever be subjected to the whims and fancies of fundamentalist groups?