Films that courted controversy over religious topics

Bollywood movies are generally perceived as an entertainment package with song, dance, romance and stunts as its basic ingredients. But every once in a while there comes a film which dares to break the stereotypical mould — by exploring sensitive or taboo topics that are otherwise hastily swept under the carpet.

Paresh Rawal features in Dharam Sankat Mein as a Hindu man, who despises Muslims only to find out later that he was born Muslim and adopted by a Hindu family © Provided by MiD-DAY Paresh Rawal features in Dharam Sankat Mein as a Hindu man, who despises Muslims only to find out later that he was born Muslim and adopted by a Hindu family

A case in point is ‘Dharam Sankat Mein’, which hit the theatres yesterday. The comedy, which stars Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah and Annu Kapoor, stirs up issues that generally don’t make for polite dinner table conversations even though they need to be discussed and debated upon. The film revolves around a staunch Hindu (Rawal) who goes through an identity crisis when he discovers he was born Muslim, but adopted by a Hindu family. The plot was considered so controversial and sensitive that the Censor Board reportedly invited a Hindu priest and a Maulvi to supervise the film’s certification process and asked for some “offensive” scenes to be deleted.

Religion, apart from a few other issues, has always been a sore point. But an increasing number of filmmakers are transgressing the boundaries of social acceptability on the 70mm screen. hitlist gives a lowdown on a few such films from the recent past…

‘PK’ (2014)

PK © Provided by MiD-DAY PK

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma

Talking point: The film was mired in controversy as it was a satire on various sensitive issues like political beliefs, religion and superstitions which are so deeply rooted in the social consciousness of India. Aamir played an alien, who is stuck on Earth and gradually unravels the ugly face of human greed and misuse of religion to one’s advantage. Hindutva groups took offence to certain scenes, while some others pointed out that the film “unnecessarily” mocked Hindu beliefs and rituals, and portrayed Hindus as either atheists or fanaticsm, but didn’t touch other faiths. There were also concerns that the film did not reach any conclusion on the existence of religion, but simply questioned superstitions.

‘Dozakh: In Search of Heaven’ (2015)

Dozakh: In Search of Heaven © Provided by MiD-DAY Dozakh: In Search of Heaven

Director: Zaigham Imam

Cast: Lalit Tiwari, Garrick Chaudhary

Talking point: It was centered on a Muslim father and son duo, the former being a cleric and a true follower of

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