There is no room for rabble-rousing Muslims to protest the film song featuring actress Priya Prakash Varrier; the authority must dismiss all appeals to censor the film in general and the song in particular

Intolerance, if increased alarmingly under the Narendra Modi government, has increased no less among the Muslims. It’s a different story altogether that the mainstream media hardly reports it. When it does, as we have said on several occasions earlier, the perpetrator is a “member of a certain community”. In the latest instance of the kind, some Muslim fundamentalists have objected to the lyrics of a song in Twitter sensation Priya Prakash Varrier’s upcoming film Oru Adaar Love. This, despite the fact that members of the faith have, for ages, been mouthing the lines borrowed by CMA Jabbar as “Manikya Malaraya Poovi” without qualms! Even director Omar Lulu and Music Director Shan Rehman happen to be Muslims, but the fact fails to impress the protesters. And the media is once again not saying that a practicing Muslim cannot, in his wildest imagination, insult Islam. Some ruffians have filed a case against the actress and the director under IPC Section 295, which implies legally that the duo has “injured or defiled some place of worship with the intention to insult the religion of any class”! Is the song’s claim that Prophet Mohammed’s first wife Khadijah “lived like a Queen in the holy city of Mecca” objectionable? Are the words that assert that Khadijah desired Mohammed worth a protest? Do the likes of Raza Academy mean that the Prophet had imposed himself on the rich businesswoman against her will? Is it historically incorrect that she wished that the Nabi returned from his expedition and married her? Or, do they deny Khadijah resembled a pearl flower? Contrary to Karni Sena’s case against Padmaavat, where a rumour had cast a shadow on the release of the film, here the words that have stirred a hornet’s nest are in the public domain for anybody to judge. Damning a folk song when included in a film is as ridiculous as complaining that Silsila or Laawaris had become vulgar films because “Rang Barse” and “Mere Angne Men” were respectively incorporated in them while rural northern India had been humming those lines for donkey’s years before they made it to the films named.

A murmur of astonishment is heard on social media platforms, arguably because the users have a soft corner for Priya. Expectedly but unfortunately, the columnists in newspapers and the howling anchors in television debates have been deafeningly silent for the past two days since a section of the Muslim world erupted. In the meantime, the young girl, whose coy demeanour hijacked the news mediums for a day that highlighted her rather than important political and economic stories of the country, is left wondering whether she is not an Indian whose fundamental right to the freedom of expression is guaranteed. Of course, marketing strategies, especially those employed by the film industry to make a new creation the talk of the town, have their fair share of pitfalls. From Manisha Koirala, who made a worthless Ek Chhoti Si Love Story run for a day or two at the theatres with her allegation that the director of that film had shown her disrobed on camera without her consent, to Deepika Padukone, who had made depression look like a national disease before the release of Piku, it’s a long list. But the dispute surrounding the Malayalam movie could hardly have been choreographed backstage by the filmmaker. It’s downright bigotry by a bunch of noisy Muslims, whose selective outrage failed to move the government, who are now desperate to make news headlines to maintain their relevance in their constituency. It is hoped that the police will go soft on the accused and, when the matter reaches the court, the judge would dismiss the case on the day of the first hearing rather than wanting to see the film unlike what the Rajasthan High Court had wished during l’affaire Padmaavat. In between, the Central Board of Film Certification can spare cinema-goers the horror of its confused standards.