As these days religion sells like sex, companies are increasingly choosing religious subjects for their media products including movies.
By Rakesh Raman
While the Charlie Hebdo case is still sizzling as Muslim protesters in different parts of the world are demanding action against the current editors who have published Prophet Muhammad’s cartoons, an Indian film shows an actor as the messenger of God.
The controversial film “MSG — The Messenger Of God” may not have directly shown the actor as Muhammad. However, it has certainly passed innuendos that suggest Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh – as the main lead in the film – is messenger of God while Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last messenger sent by God to mankind.
Then how can an Indian actor become messenger of God? The film was first banned by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in India fearing that it will spark unrest in the country particularly when the Muslims are already facing Hindu fury with the Hindu BJP government at the helm.
Later, Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) overruling the decision of CBFC cleared the film’s release for Friday, Jan. 16, after asking the producers to add a disclaimer in the film that it’s a fictional depiction of the story and not real portrayal of the God’s messenger.
[ Also Read: Kaum De Heere Film Banned by the Government in India ]
The issue holds added significance because the hero in “MSG — The Messenger Of God” film is actually a religious guru who heads the Dera Sacha Sauda sect in India.
Recently, in a similar case, the Hollywood movie Exodus: Gods and Kings had hit rough weather when Muslim countries such as Egypt, Morocco, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) decided not to show it to local audiences claiming that the film’s treatment of religious facts were not correct.
As these days religion sells like sex, companies are increasingly choosing religious subjects for their media products including movies. According to The Week, more biblical films were released in the 12 months of 2014 than in the previous 12 years combined.
After the religious controversy on the publishing of cartoons, Charlie Hebdo increased the print-run of the weekly magazine to 3 million copies from a paltry 60,000 before the terrorists’ attack that killed its artists.
Likewise, “MSG — The Messenger Of God” is expected to do a good business in India, when the film is released in all territories. For the time being, despite its clearance from Film Tribunal, some states have refused to show the film.
For example, the Punjab government on Saturday decided to suspend the screening of “MSG — The Messenger Of God” in the state saying the controversial film is a threat to social harmony.
The film is produced by Hakikat Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.
You also can read: More Articles by the RMN Editor, Rakesh Raman