Who doesn’t love a good movie? This definition of good, however, may vary from person to person. Strange enough but true today, people often weigh movies, literature, and even events based on their ideologies. Something good for person A must be bad for person B given both persons are anti each other’s ideology. And the Indian cinema industry has traditionally been anti-Hindu, make no mistake about it! Though it has been a trademark practice of Bollywood to mock Hinduism and its elements, the rise of GemsOfBollywood Twitter handle has brought this bias into the open for people (at large) to witness, resent and talk about it publically. GemsOfBollywood has inspired people to look for the subtle propaganda, biases, and hatred for Hinduism and many things associated with it. And Adipurush, the Prabhas-starer movie, a much-hyped project by Om Raut, has made it clear that Bollywood seldom thinks twice before hurting the sentiments of the 80% people of India – the Hindus, the silent sufferers.
Note: This is an opinion article where the author has not taken very much care of writing ethics. You can be offended, as you are free, if you care so much about Bollywood!
It is a very common practice in Bollywood to make movies by taking inspiration from books. These are the names of a few movies that have been adapted from books – Devdas, Byomkesh Bakshi, Parineeta, the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, Omkara, Maqbool, Angoor, Sarkar, and so on. This magnificent art of turning written language into visual representation gives voice to a wide range of characters, unspoken desires, unexplored ideas, and subtexts. So, book-to-movie translation is totally acceptable. We as audiences love to watch these translated movies. And when you adore a book then watching a faithful adaptation of that book would lift your spirit and you undoubtedly enjoy the movie. However, when a movie is made on historical events or keeping our scriptures in the base, then it becomes a task of great responsibility. Because our great history, preserved in our holy scriptures, is the foundation pillar of our culture, religion, and civilization. It is our culture that has shaped us and the society in which we are proudly living today. So, tampering with history and sacred writings cannot be admissible. Not just because it is a symbol of people’s faith, beliefs, and feelings. Rather, it is the responsibility of all of us to transfer the greatness of our history to the new generation with complete accuracy and fullness. As far as the big screen is concerned, this responsibility lies on the shoulders of the director and writer of a film. In this article, I will talk about the recently released and one of the high-budget movies of the Bollywood ‘Adipurush’, which grabbed huge eyeballs even before its release. Adipurush is the adaptation of the epic Ramayan. So, it was obvious that along with the excitement, the audiences had immense anticipation for this movie. However, this so-called highly popular movie has completely failed to meet the expectations of the audience. Naturally, the whole credit goes to the director ‘Om Raut’ and the writer (Manoj) Muntashir (Shukla). After reading and listening to reviews, I was totally against watching this leviathan-budget, meaningless and insensitive Bollywood movie. Still, I watched it just to know how low Bollywood can fall to insult our beliefs and holy texts. In the next few paragraphs, I will share my observations about the movie followed by a conclusion.
The Fundamental Mistakes:
Sri Ram was not the Adipurush! He was a Mahapurush, a Devata, a Mahamanav, and way more. To err is human. However, to knowingly make such a mistake is not a fool’s overstepping but a subtle act of a propagandist. How can Sri Ram be Adipurush when his father Dashrath was there? When Dashrath’s father Aj was there? When great grandfathers Kukutsath and Ikshwaku were there? What were you thinking while picking up the title of this movie, Mr Om Raut? Didn’t your intellectual and highly intelligent friend, an expert in Ram Kathas, (Manoj) Muntashir (Shukla) help you understand the subtlety of the title? Oh, he might have been trying to silence his father by singing some Urdu song while the poor father sang some Sanskrit mantra to please Shiva Shankar!
The producers, director, and writer of this movie Adipurush must have thought that young audiences are fools. They may have thought the younger generation of Hindus is careless and callous towards their religion, religious icons, and scriptures. However, this perception, along with the poorly picked title of the movie, was a huge mistake! And youths replied by rejecting the movie outrightly. Bravo, young friends!
As Adipurush is a dramatic retelling of the Ramayan (also spelt Ramayana), a feeling of devotion naturally embraces me. For me, more than entertainment, this movie was almost like experiencing the generosity of Lord Ram, scarifies of Mata Sita, the devotion of Sri Lakshmana, the bravery of Hanumanji, the renowned Ram-Ravan Yuddha, etc. on the big screen the same way I did in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan. However, it was entirely the opposite! The experience was turned into torture for the eyes and the ears! Today also, when I listen to the dialogues of Ramanandji’s Ramayan, my soul gets immersed in devotion. I know that Ramayan is translated many times by different poets and authors, and has been attempted as big and small-budget movies by various directors. But this version of the Ramayan, created by Om Raut, has totally disappointed me, especially on the language front. I feel both the writer and director have forgotten the fact that language is born of culture and Ramkatha connects our cultural sources. It is an eternal stream of Indian cultural values. It flows through our ears and reaches our hearts and fixes a permanent impression of the characters, events, and atmosphere of the bygone era. The film is against this prevalent belief that has been going on since time eternal. Shameless screenplay and double-meaning dialogues hurt our sentiments. Absurd, foul, and lousy language hits hard on the ears as well as the soul. Frequent use of Urdu words in the name of simplicity questions the intentions of the writer and the director. Also, it kindles the flame of anger in you. It would not be wrong if I say that the chastity of the language is brutally slaughtered by the famous ‘poet’ (Manoj) Muntashir (Shukla). Now, here arises a question. Could he, the famous ‘poet’ Muntashir, be talking to his parents, children, and friends in such a cheap language? Probably Not! Or, who knows! Then why did he make fun of Ramayan despite being informed about the subject? Is this creative freedom for him? Ramayan is pure, graceful, gentle, and intense. What impression does the writer want to create in young minds about Ramayan and its characters (who do not have both time and interest in reading and verifying our sacred writings)? I must tell you, movies like Adipurush unsettle us, provokes us, and urge us to raise our voices in support of our culture and ancient holy texts. Here are some of the dialogues for your reference so that you also know that there is no exaggeration in what I have said so far about this movie.
Ye to fisaddi hai. Hamse galati ho gayi. Hame Bali se dosti ka hath milana chahiye tha – Lakshman to Ram, during Sugriv and Bali mal yuddha.
Aap khud apne kaal ke liye kalin bichha rahe hai. Ab use aane se koi nahi rok sakta – Vibhishan to Ravan.
Ye teri bhua ka bagicha hai jo hava khane chala aaya? Aur tujhe kya laga tu mujhse bach jayega? Merega bete…Aaj tu apni jaan se hath dhoyega – Indrajit to Hanuman.
Aur koi kaam dhandha nahi bacha jo bandar pakadne laga? – Said by Ravan.
Ise raghav ne hi bheja hoga janki ki jasoosi karne aur lanka me jasusi ka dand maut hai – Said by Indrajit.
Jali na? Abhi to aur jalegi…bechara…jiski jalti hai wo hi janta hai – Indrajit to Hanuman.
Kapda tere baap ka, tel tere baap ka, aag bhi tere baap ki, aur jalegi bhi tere baap ki – Hanuman to Indrajit.
Jo hamari behno ko hath lagayenge unki lanka laga denge – Said by Hanuman.
Ayodhya me to wo rahta nahin. Rahta to wo jungle me hai. Aur jangal ka raja sher hota hai. To wo kahan ka raja hai re? Ravan.
This Tapori-style language and dialogues challenge the valour and power of Hanumanji, the eminence and wiseness of Ravan, and the greatness of warrior Indrajit. Their mockery is like making fun of Sanatan Dharm. I have heard Manoj’s poems and watched his videos. I am sure he is sound in the Hindi language. He used to proclaim the richness of Hindu Dharm and the eminence of holy books. He used to proudly call himself a ‘Hindu,’ and not a ‘secular’. I have never ever expected such a cruel act from him. Why did he do this?
The story is at the core of any composition. It is the main component like the soul in the body. You can make a movie without characters (using voiceover and visuals) but a film cannot be made without a story. For instance, there is no need for any character while describing the silence of a forest, vivid flora and fauna, its lush green beauty in rain and the rustle of dry leaves in autumn. Anyways. Om Raut proclaims that Adipurush is the remake of the Ramayan. However, I feel, he has changed the essence of the story of the epic Ramayan in Adipurush and created his own version which is full of mockery. Ramayan is pure and divine. It teaches us about love, relationships, togetherness, respect, forgiveness, equality, staying away from negative people, consequences of ego and arrogance. But, Om Raut’s version of Ramayan is dull, dark, more on the side of entertainment and an obscene gesture to insult Hindu Dharm. Have you ever seen a movie insulting the beliefs of Muslims or Christians? Or have you ever watched a tv series keeping holy texts of Muslims or Christians as its base? Or have you ever read any book criticising or altering the content of any of the scriptures of Muslims or Christians? My answer is a big NO. I am sure you too will agree with me. Because Bollywood is totally biased. What can be a bigger proof of this than Adipurush? Om Raut, the director, of the movie have altered the true story of the Ramayan in the wrong way in the name of creative freedom. Since childhood, we are raised listening to the stories of Lord Ram, Mata Sita, Ravan, and Hanumanji so we can clearly identify these changes. These stories are so close to our hearts that even a small change made in these stories is not readily acceptable. Also, some of you must have read Ramayan or Ramcharitmanas or other books depicting the life of Lord Ram. At least, I have read and based on it I can confirm that the story of the movie does not resemble at all the stories we have heard and read about Lord Ram and the facts that are mentioned in the Ramayan. Adipurush is a retelling of the epic Ramayan, then I must ask Om Raut how can he be so bad as a director at retelling this story that is so scary for us. Let me give you a few examples to better understand how Om Raut has reinterpreted the scared Ramayn as per his own limited understanding:
1. The director Om Raut has turned the heroic vulture Jatayu, who sacrificed himself while protecting Sita from the clutches of Ravan into an eagle in Adipurush.
2. When Ravan kidnapped Mata Sita and transported her to Lanka in the Pushpak Viman, only Jatayu witnessed the event. However, in the movie, both Lord Ram and Lakshman saw Ravan taking Sita with him. Additionally, the fight between Ravan and Jatayu was also spectated by them.
3. While art and literature have depicted Pushpak Vimana as some sort of flying machine, Om Raut has reinterpreted it into a Bat with large and horrific wings and big and sharp teeth.
4. Tulsidasji’s Manas describes the story of Shabri who had waited for Shri Ram for many centuries and it was Lord Ram along with Lakshman who visited her in her shack and ate her ‘bers’. This story is imprinted in our minds since childhood. The director has tried to alter this also by showing Shabri visiting Ram and Lakshman in the Jungle.
5. It was Nala (son of Gods’ architect Vishwakarma) and Nila who were cursed by Rishis that whatever they throw would float in the water. This curse turned out to be a boon in the mission of Sri Ram crossing over the ocean to reach Lanka. But, in the movie, there is no mention of these two important characters.
6. As per Hindu tradition, a Bharmin normally dons saffron or orange colour grab. In the movie, Om Raut made Ravan wear black clothes to Ravan when he disguised himself as a Brahmin to abduct Devi Sita.
7. Feminisation of the character of Sushen Vaidya who was the official Ayurvedic doctor of Lanka at that time and treated Lakshmanji when he fell unconscious, was done to add more glamour to the film.
8. Along with a great army of skilled soldiers, Ravan has an army of meat-eater bats in Adipurush. Where, Om?
The story is a mental torture… and if you can take it lightly, a laughing stock! It shows how pathetic the understanding of the director about the epic is. Pathetic!
Adipurush movie depicts the Yuddha Kand of the venerated Ramayan. If we look in-depth, we will find that this section is for every human being in the battle of life. It reflects hope, faith, zeal, enthusiasm, strength, courage, confidence, and togetherness. It is like the rays of the bright Sun that penetrate the clouds of negativity, confusion and doubts in our mind and shows us the right path where we can find peace, happiness and love. On the contrary, this film is set in a dark tone throughout. And it is the darkness that kills its visual appeal. I guess by keeping the dark-toned, Om Raut wanted to hide VFX mistakes. And so, this film does not bring any brightness, energy, or positivity to us. Furthermore, the picturisation of a romantic song on Lord Ram and Devi Sita is uncouth. It is a clear attempt of playing with our beliefs. Lord Ram and Devi Sita had two different bodies, but they had one soul. Director Om Raut has made a joke about their separation.
More than Sanyasis, Sri Ram and Lakshman look like hunters and Devi Sita looks like a beautiful modern lady than the dignified queen of Ayodhya. Innocence, decency, and softness are missing on their faces. It seems that Om Raut has taken away the divinity from them. Besides this, Sugriv, Bali, Jamvant and other Vanaras appear ruthless and violent… right from the movie The Planet of the Apes, if you watch Hollywood entertainers.
The sentiments contained in the core of the Ramayan are gentle, simple, and poignant. Unlike the great Ramayan, this film is loud, awful, and provoking, and yet dull enough with inaction, speechlessness and absurdity!
The setup and backdrop portrayed in the original Ramayana is natural, scenic, and graceful that not only pleases your eyes but your soul too. Here, however, an overdose of poor VFX slays the actual feel of the epic and mentally tortures us.
I somewhere read that it takes a village to raise a child. It conveys the idea of togetherness. Similarly, it takes the purity of thoughts, emotions, and soul to convert sacred texts into another form as it tells the world serenity, greatness, and sanctity of our culture. It is our culture that shapes us and it is our duty to protect and promote it. So, to transfer this cultural heritage and treasure to the next generation, we have to be strict about the accuracy of language. Books, tv series, cartoons and movies are the major mediums of this transfer. However, this time, the visual medium has completely failed in fulfilling its duty. It clearly seems a conspiracy to corrupt our holy scripture – Ramayan. However, the director and the writer have forgotten that whatever happened and is written cannot be undone. Still, they did try their best to change the impression of Ramayan, its events and its characters in the minds of the Target Audience (the young generation) by insulting and concocting the scripture. But, it didn’t turn out the way they thought and the targeted audience only slapped hard on their face for being disrespectful towards Lord Ram, Mata Sita and Hanumanji. I am grateful towards people for boycotting the movie and raising voices in support of our culture and beliefs. And luckily, now that I am finishing this article, people have responded loudly to the movie director and writer by boycotting it all the way! It should teach a lesson to loudmouth actors, actresses, shayars and producers. Hope better sense prevails! JAY SRI RAM!
Parakashtha for Literature News