Christians in Kerala annoyed by biased films
Amid the raging controversy over the Mappilai Rebellion of 1921, described as Kerala’s biggest community pogrom, a new feud has arisen in the state over the names of two films. If the authorities ignore the warnings issued by the population, there is a good chance that the state will see fanatics take the law into their hands by claiming to fight for the preservation of the sanctity of religions.
It all started two months ago when mimicry artist turned filmmaker Nadirsha announced the launch of her new business “Eesho” with the slogan “Not From the Bible”. For Christians in Kerala, the name Eesho is sacrosanct because it represents Jesus. Eesho’s name caused a stir as community members felt it was an attempt to humiliate Christians.
PC George, a top community leader and seven-time member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, fired the first salvo by announcing that he would not allow the film to be released under his name. George was also upset that the slogan “Not from the Bible” had been chosen by the director with ulterior motives.
Elsewhere in the state, lay people and clergy expressed their displeasure with the name of the film and this forced Nadirsha to withdraw the slogan. He told the media that the film had nothing to do with Jesus Christ or the Bible. Nadirsha also announced the name of his next business “Keshu Ee Veedinte Nathan”, the Malayalam for “Jesus, Lord of this House,” a billboard quite common in all traditional Christian homes in the state. This made the situation even worse as resentment grew among believers.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, a powerful body of state bishops, issued a statement denouncing the tendency among “some people and groups” to portray the Christian community in a bad light through the media massive. “Filmmakers and artists should not discredit and ridicule a community with the intention of disrupting religious harmony,” the statement said.
The Christian Association and Alliance for Social Action (CASA), an umbrella organization of all factions in the Church, is also unhappy with the “community targeting” by certain groups. “We have not forgotten what happened to Professor TJ Joseph, whose right arm was cut off by fanatics who claimed he had offended the Prophet by preparing a questionnaire for the University. They should understand that we too have beliefs and respect for our religion, ”said Kevin Peter, President of CASA.
Not to be outdone, the young affiliates of CASA released a short film entitled Mohammed-The Pocso Criminal, with the slogan “based on a true story set in Assam in 1997”.
The movie poster was released on Thursday with the announcement that it would be ready for a public release on November 19 (which is Indira Gandhi’s birthday). The question posed in Kerala is who would blink first.