Aamir Khan
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PK in a religious tangle?

Aamir Khan

By HT

Mumbai, Dec. 29 -- Aamir Khan's recent release, PK, might have broken boxoffice records, but it has also stirred the hornet's nest just when the makers thought that their share of troubles for this year was over.

Several Hindu organisations are up in arms, staging protests, filing FIRs - over 20 at the time of going to press - demanding a ban on the movie. Reason? The alleged mockery of religion in the film, especially the depiction of Hindu Gods in a derogatory light.

While prominent personalities - the latest one being BJP leader LK Advani - have watched and appreciated the film that has grossed over 182 crore in its first week itself, the wrath the film has invited from religious organisations has resulted in not only tighter security outside cinema halls, but also clarifications from Aamir, and the film's director, Rajkumar Hirani.

"We respect all religions. All my Hindu friends have seen the film and they have not felt the same. Even Raju (Hirani) is Hindu, so is Vinod (Chopra; producer) and so is Abhijat (Joshi; scriptwriter). In fact 99 per cent of the crew was Hindu. No one would have done such a thing," said Aamir, in a statement.

Hirani has said, "We have not done anything for which people can say that we have deliberately hurt anyone's religious sentiments. The core idea of the film is that we are not born with a birthmark proclaiming we are Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs or Christians. Just like a baby is born

without any pre-conceived notions and is made to follow a certain lifestyle and perform certain rituals, we decided to have Aamir as an alien, which meant he, too, did not have any idea or notions about what religion is on Earth."

Meanwhile, Leela Samson, former chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), says, "In a country like India, there are bound to be differing opinions... radical and liberal, indifferent and informed. Those who don't agree should ignore it. Every Indian citizen does not have to see every film produced in the country."

Interestingly, in an earlier stand while dismissing the plea to stall the film's release, Chief Justice of India RM Lodha had also said, "If you don't like it, don't watch the film. Don't bring religious facets here."

Experts say any publicity is good publicity for the movie at this point. "These controversies will only boost the collections as people would be curious to see what it is all about," says trade expert Atul Mohan.