Makers of an upcoming Bollywood film have changed the lyrics of a song after the Muslim community protested.
The film, Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 - Agni Pariksha, is set to release on 8 July.
On 22 June, filmmakers released a song from the film titled ‘Haq Hussain’ on various social media platforms.
Over the last 12 days, many Muslim organisations have protested against the song, calling it hurtful to the Shia sect.
They say that the portrayal of the mourning during Muharram is objectionable as it’s shown as violent.
The song shows two groups indulging in a deadly street fight while a Muharram procession is on. The film’s lead actor uses the sharp object used by mourners for self-flagellation to attack his opponent. The butcher knife is also shown as a weapon to kill.
Muharram is a prominent day for Muslims. The Shia sect marks it by mourning the death of Hussain Ali, the grandson of Islam’s founder. The day marks the anniversary of the ‘battle of Karbala’ when Hussain was killed.
Lakhs of Muslims take out a procession on the day where they weep, tell the story of Hussain and beat their chests wearing black clothes. Self-flagellation is also associated with the procession.
After the controversy, the Panorama Studio that has made the film issued a detailed apology from its official Twitter handle on 5 July.
The apology says:
“We the makers of Khuda Haafiz Chapter 2 Agni Pariksha take cognizance of the concerns expressed by a few people of the Shia community and sincerely apologise for the fact that elements of the song ‘Haq Hussain’ have unintentionally hurt their sentiments. Objections were raised by a few people of the community for the word ‘Hussain’ and the use of the matam zanjeer."
“We have unilaterally decided to make changes to the song. In consultation with the Censor Board, we have removed zanjeer blades from the song and we’ve changed the lyrics of the song ‘Haq Hussain’ to ‘Junoon Hai'."
“Please note that no Shia community member has been captured in the wrong light in the film, nor does the film show any person of the Shia community attacking anyone."
“The song was created with the most pious intent to celebrate the glory of Imam Hussain and the intention was never to hurt religious sentiments. Nonetheless, voluntarily, keeping the sentiments of the Shia sect in mind, we have made the aforementioned changes.”
About the film
The film, which features actor Vidyut Jammwal, is a sequel to his earlier film ‘Khuda Haafiz’ released in 2020. The director of the upcoming film is Farukh Kabir, who earlier released a crime thriller titled ‘Allah Ke Bande’ in 2010.
The cast also includes prominent names in the industry such as Naseeruddin Shah and Atul Kulkarni. The film has been produced by Kumar Mangat Pathak, Abhishek Pathak, Sneha Bimal Parekh, Ram Mirchandan.
The writers of the controversial song 'Haq Hussain' are Shabbir Ahmad and Ayaz Kohli.
At the time of publishing this report, the song available on the YouTube channel of Zee Music continued to show the previous lyrics, which go like this:
Ragon mein khoon hai
Nahi sukoon hai
Sahastra kalp mein
Bhara junoon hai
Julm ke khilaf
Yeh haq ki jung hai
Shamshir pe chadha
Laahu ka rang hai
Toofan chaal pada
Ali ka noor hai na
Woh navi ka chain hai
Hussain hai hussain hai
Noor-e-haq hussain hai
Hussain hai hussain hai
Imaam-e-haq hussain hai'
Some of the comments visible in the comment section of the video are:
“You don’t have to use Imam Hussain (as) name in the song. It is a sacred name and should not be used for portraying fight scenes.”
“I am Hussain (as) stood for justice and belongs to humanity. It is beyond hurtful to see His name and accolades being recited in a song while violence and murder is committed.”
“I would like to inform the makers of this film, that the murder scenes in the song shows Shia Muslims in a bad light as, we the believers of Imam Hussain never use zanjeer as a weapon to harm or kill someone. Instead, we use it on ourselves to shed our own blood as we offer our condolences to our beloved Iman Hussain’s mother Shehzadi Fatima. Your immediate action on removal of this whole sequence from the movie is required and would be appreciated by the Shia community.”
Please note that ‘as’ in the above comments stands for ʿalayhi as-salām’ which translates to ‘peace be upon him’.
Similar visuals with Hindu themes in Bollywood
Even as makers of the film have been quick to respond to protests by the Muslim community, Bollywood has a long history of using Hindu religious chants and aartis as background music for violence, crimes or debauchery. A popular Twitter account named Gems of Bollywood had highlighted several such videos.
In 2021 film Satyameva Jayate 2, Shiva strotam plays in the background in a scene showing corrupt Hindu politicians, who poisoned Muslim children, being punished. The film featured actor John Abraham as the lead.
In 2020 OTT series Aashram, Hindu chants and mantras were used as demonic and menacing to show saffron-clad sadhus committing a murder.
In 2020 film Durgamati, Sanskrit shlokas played in the background in a scene that showed the titular character threatening men with murder. The woman was referred to as “witch” and “bitch” in other scenes of the film.
In 1989 film Love Love Love featuring actor Aamir Khan, a villain played by actor Raza Murad was shown killing a bird while listening to Ramcharitmanas being recited by a pandit.
In film Ilaaka released the same year, the villain, played by Amrish Puri, was shown doing puja in front of a deity while planning a murder. The chants were “Shiv Shambhu Shiv Shambhu”. The film was written by Javed Siddiqui, directed by Izaz Selwal and featured actor Mithun in the lead role.
In 1984 film Zakshmi Sher, Sanskrit mantras played in the background while a saffron-clad sadhu was shown indulging in liquor, planning of crimes and womanising. The film’s dialogues were written by Rahi Masoom Raza.
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