Bhagwan Krishna denigrated in two movies recently released on Netflix

Hinduphobia seems to be the latest virus to have affected cinema folk and there is an organized effort across all industries to demean Hindu Dharma either overtly or covertly. Where earlier it was the silver screen now it is OTT web platforms which are serving liberal (pun intended) doses of Hinduphobia.

Hindupost had earlier reported about the Zee5’s controversial Brahmin-bashing Tamil web-series ‘Godman’ which was ultimately stalled due to social media opposition. Netflix anyway has been a pioneer of the Hinduphobia genre with shows like ‘Sacred Games’, ‘Ghoul’ and ‘Leela’. It has now come to light that Netflix has provided a platform for directly targeting Bhagwan Krishna this time around.

The first is a Netflix original film Bulbbul produced by none other than ‘Paatal Lok’ fame Anushka Sharma who has taken it upon herself to promote Hinduphobia with a vengeance it seems. As per information, Bulbbul has a Bengali song written by Shah Abdul Karim. In this song, Karim has used derogatory words and abuses for a character called Kaanu/Kanha (Kanha or Kanhaiya is the loving name used for Sri Krishna by his devotees) calling him ‘haramzada’ that translates to bastard in English, and refers to Radha (Devi Radha is the divine consort of Sri Krishna and their spiritual love exemplifies devotional service for millions) as ‘kalankini’ (ill-reputed or one who is known for having illicit affairs).

After portraying Hindu Dharma in an offensive manner in Paatal Lok Anushka Sharma’s production house ‘Clean Slate Filmz’ which she founded along with brother Karnesh has just taken Hinduphobia to the next level by abusing Hindu Devis and Devtas. Social media users were appalled by this brazenness to demean Sanatan Dharma time and again.

The second Hinduphobic film released on Netflix recently is the Telugu film ‘Krishna and his Leela’ directed by Ravikanth Perepu and presented by Bahubali fame Rana Daggubati. It has also been jointly produced by Rana’s family production house Suresh Productions, Sanjay Reddy and Viacom18 Pictures.

There is absolutely no doubt that the film borrows its characters from sacred Hindu ithaas. Bhawgan Krishna is revered by Hindus and the joyful dance of young Krishna and gopis (milkmaids) of Vrindavan has been immortalised by his devotees. This divine dance, also known as ‘Rasleela’ is born out of pure love and devotion.

But for makers of this film, such sacred Hindu stories are nothing but masala for a salacious ‘rom-com’ (romantic comedy) where their Krishna has several affairs, one of his girlfriends is Radha and the film has sexually explicit content. All packaged as a coming of age story for today’s youth! They use Hindu terminology, imagery and iconography to draw the audience in, and then serve such tripe.

While the film industry is busy appreciating the director Ravikanth Perepu who has co-written the story with lead actor Siddhu Jonnalagada, it just shows how the makers have been subtle and covert in promoting Hinduphobia. They’ve even turned Rukmini into Rukhsar. All of this has been done in the name of creative freedom. Some viewers might only see these as imaginary stories, but such subtle messaging works at the psychological level.

Bollywood has been promoting stereo-typicality and Hinduphobia for decades. Studies have established a definite connection between stereotypical presentation in movies and them triggering an automatic tendency to imitate observed behavior. What it essentially means is how a religious group or community is portrayed would influence attitudes towards that particular group. It also erodes the self-worth of the affected community in the long run, especially when their portrayal is divorced from reality.

Talking about social issues is one thing, even that needs to be done with sensitivity, but brazen attacks on Devi-Devatas and sacred figures must not be taken lying down.

There has to be a rethink on the kind of messaging that films send out because visual imaging leaves a lasting impression. Hindu Dharma cannot be ridiculed in the name of ‘creative freedom’ or ‘being self-critical’ or taking things ‘light-heartedly’. There are enough subjects to showcase one’s creativity without being a Hinduphobe.

Hindus need to respond with a clear message that such blatant attacks on our Gods and Dharma will not be tolerated. Not anymore.


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