VHP objects to Salman's production Loveratri: No, we will not fall into the trap this time
VHP president has said that the mockery of 'Navratri' will hurt the sentiments of Hindus.
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Everything is in a name; at least, in the names that Bollywood films choose to create a ripple with in the box office. As the recent trend indicates, between a film and its box office destiny, there stands a third factor: outrage by religious groups, like in the recent case of Padmaavati-turned-Padmaavat. But the only victim of such forced tussles, which also resulted in violence and the loss of properties, is the audience. For, in most cases, it turns out that the film and the "outrage" did not deserve each other.
According to reports, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has objected to Salman Khan Films’ upcoming movie Loveratri, as the name rhymes with Navratri, a nine-day-long Hindu festival. The organisation believes that the expression "Loveratri" is actually a deliberate mocking at Navratri. Also, the movie is set to be released during Navratri this year.
“We will not allow its exhibition in cinema halls in the country. We don’t want the sentiments of Hindus to be hurt,” VHP’s international working president Alok Kumar has reportedly said.
From the director to the actors, everything about the film is new.
Why the film needs desperate promotion
Apart from the name of Salman Khan, who is producing the film, everything else about the production is pretty new.
The film is being directed by Abhiraj Minawala, who has so far assisted in various projects like Salman’s Sultan and Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan. The lead pair consists of two debutantes: Salman’s brother-in-law Ayush Sharma, and Warina Hussain. Apart from Salman Khan’s tweets giving out little tidbits of the film, there has been nothing that can catch the fancy of the audience. And here, the name does the trick; by taking the movie straight into troubled waters.
#Loveratri releasing 224 days from today... batao kya date hai release ki .— Salman Khan (@BeingSalmanKhan) February 23, 2018
Too little, too early
Like the star cast of the movie, the storyline, as far as it has been revealed, seems a tad naïve. Set in Gujarat, Loveratri will revolve around a love story in the background of Navratri. At least, the connection between Loveratri and Navratri is not fictitious. But that’s all we, as well as presumably the VHP, know at present. And that's way too little to create a flutter already.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan meets the saffron wave: the other two Khans have already had their rough run with the VHP
VHP and Bollywood’s Khans
The Khans of Bollywood have always had a volatile relationship with the Hindutva organisation.
In 2014, the organisation raised objections to parts of Aamir Khan’s PK, saying that the movie hurt religious sentiments. It also came down upon the censor board for overlooking the portions where Hindu practices were allegedly mocked at.
Shah Rukh Khan, too, antagonised the VHP by joining the “intolerance” debate just before the release of his movie Dilwale. He had said, “Religious intolerance and not being secular is the worst kind of crime that you can do as a patriot.” Following this, right-wing organisatons, including the VHP, started protesting against the screening of his movie.
Salman Khan finally makes an entry to the club, albeit a little late.
Sorry but the Indian audience is not that gullible.
Despite protests, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat which got its name changed at the last minute, witnessed a windfall at the box office, crossing the Rs 500 crore mark. In the face of similar protests, Bhansali's Ramleela had to become Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela. It also made a neat profit at the marquees.
For a moment, let us set aside the debate over artistic freedom, or whether opting for a controversial name is a publicity stunt by filmmakers. Is there any reason to consider the audience so gullible that they would actually believe that a name change, last-minute at times, makes a lot of difference? Sometimes, a movie needs far more than a name to make it a hit – or a flop.