It is true that sometimes art as a form of expression also functions to offend a given set of people. When something that is being displayed on screens takes inspiration from or claims to be realistic, it is but natural for the concerned set of audiences to get defensive. Same happened with a number of historic movies produced in India, where different communities found reasonable flaws in production a number of times. Sure, the flaw-finding did also make some good money for the movies, but the brawl had its own justification when it was all historic movies.
However, following the trend for the sake of obtaining limelight is only causing trouble – for artists, and art lovers alike. The recent trendsetting video ‘Oru aadar love’, a Malayalam track directed by Omar Lulu became an overnight sensation all over the country as this pretty girl named Priya Prakash Varrier winked gracefully at her onscreen love interest. It was probably the first time that a song created such a massive buzz that took the entire country by storm, but hey, how could the set of fundamentalists let something good be simply popular?
A controversy trailed along as the song grew popular by day. Apparently, a bunch of Islamic fundamentalists in Kerala aren’t happy about the song that has been featured in the video. They say that the lyrics describe the love between Prophet Mohammed and his wife Khadeeja Beevi from their history. They called themselves offended by the depiction of that divine love story in a childish manner, and their religion targeted by the lyrics of the song. The procedures followed, and a case has been lodged against the director of the song under section 295 (A) – deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings.
Analysing the situation, it all looks very silly. Perhaps it is just another gimmick to promote the upcoming movie that the song is a part of – but they really did not need that, considering the popularity that the song has already obtained. Regardless, we could still let it go if it is a promotional gimmick; but if it is not, the trend is highly troublesome.
The complaints claim that the depiction of the song is offensive to Islamic feelings. Well, we have a problem with the complaint itself. The lyrics of the song were composed way back in 1978, written by PMA Jabbar and given music by Thalaserry K Refeeque. The song is recognised as a popular Mappila Pattu track, sung in the Malabar region of Kerala. It does indeed describe the love relation between Prophet Mohammed and his wife as follows –
(Translation sourced from Quora.com)
“A girl like a pearl flower
Here highness khadeeja Beevi
The woman who lived like a queen in the holy city of Mecca
She called khathim-un-Nabbi (Prophet Mohammed) Sent as in charge of her trade expedition.
At the first sight of him, Her heart desired him
Blessed Rasoolullah came back after expedition
To marry the Prophet was the Beevi desire.”
Another Quora user, a Keralite himself, states that most Keralites do not have a problem with this song. Most weren’t even aware of its meaning, let go of being offended. More so, the song was being sung on most joyous occasions within the Islamic community – especially weddings. That in itself is evidence for the meaning that the song conveys – that of love and belonging. The song has depicted the same emotion, only in an unconventional yet very appealing manner that has been loved by the masses all over the country. A number of Mappila Pattu songs have been interpreted in novel ways and used in movies in the past, Oru aadar love being just one of them. More so, Keralites are mature enough to receive the direction in the way it was meant – as an expression of the most beautiful phase of teenage love.
There is nothing in the song that deserves to be registered under the act defined as ‘deliberate and malicious act that offends a religion’, because it obviously doesn’t. The song has been popular within the Islamic community for four decades, and it is highly irrelevant that they make it an issue because an Islamic director himself dared to interpret it a little differently. Not only so, the cast as well the back end production team has been made to appear in court for hearings, only because the one community in the receiving end was a fundamentalist.
It is high time that the Islamic community understands that this extremism is not taking them anywhere – it is only making the rest of the country look down on them. For a song that was loved by everyone else, creating an obstacle with such a lame reason was absolutely unnecessary. Hopefully, the movie will still appear with the same zeal and take the country by storm yet again, unaffected by all this melodrama.