Fuwad Khan's directorial debut Dharam Sankat Mein is a brave gesture, mainly because of the subject the cinematographer (A Wednesday, Jism several among others) chose for his first movie as a director. The film traces the struggles in the life of a man who's lived his life as a Hindu, only to realise that he was born in a Muslim family. But is it a rational, unbiased take on blind practices in the name of religion or is it yet another half-hearted attempt that ends up scoffing at one or more religions?
Dharam Sankat Mein is loosely based on Josh Apignanesi’s The Infidel (2010). Written by acclaimed comedian and author David Baddiel, The Infidel is the story of Mahmud (played by Omid Djalili) whose life is turned upside down when he discovers that he is not a British Muslim, but was born in a Jewish family. Khan's film too is a satirical take on religious practices and fake godmen across all religions in India. Recently, Aamir Khan's PK too touched upon such corrupt practices in our life; the film was critically acclaimed and did well on the ticket windows but had to face the ire of various religious heads, who also demanded the film to be banned.
Dharam Sankat Mein too will have to walk the tight rope, though the filmmakers say they've made a religion-neutral film. It's impartiality and sensitivity, however, will be judged only after it hits theatres on Friday. Even before the film was released, the Central Board of Film Certification objected to some of the scenes. After chopping several sequences from the movie, the board also asked words like "salaa", 'kambakht' and 'musalmaano' to be muted out of the movie.
Speaking at a promotional event for the film, Paresh Rawal, who plays the lead, claimed that the film does not talk about the problems of the Hindus and Muslims. Naseeruddin Shah, who plays godman Neelkanth baba in the film, said, "I cannot understand the mentality, and unfortunately, this exists across the border. Whether you're Hindi or Muslim... one quickly takes offense like this. We have taken care of sentiments of all the religions and groups. We are not mocking religion in the film but the people who have made religion a source of their business." Anuu Kapoor, another stalwart who plays a major role in the film, added: "Our film gives the message of human kind. A person who gets involved in a situation and he realises at the end that the mankind is the most superior religion."
Is all of this just for promotions of the movie or is Dharam Sankat Mein really a good-intentioned film? Watch this space for the review to find out.