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Dear Bollywood! Gehraaiyan was Yet Again a bit Deeper Attack on Us, Hindus!

Punarnava Malhotra : The genre of romantic movies where the hero and heroine do not reunite prepares the viewers for a harsh reality of life. These tragedies are necessary for the romantics to know that not every courtship will lead to a happy relationship. Gehraiyaan, starring Deepika Padukone and Siddhant Chaturvedi might be too adventurous to be true. However, it teaches youth to reconsider their expectations as they sit down to watch a passionate love story that slowly disintegrates into a deadly association. Such doses of tragic love stories provide cathartic experiences to the ones who have had their hearts broken. 

The movie Gehraaiyan received a 6.6 rating on IMDb. Perhaps there could have been an improvement in the dialogue section of the film. But besides that, there is another major flaw in the write-up of the movie. 

The character of Alisha who is a Yoga trainer had some major traumas in her life. Through flashbacks and old videotapes we learn that she had a tragic childhood. As an adult, she deals with trust issues, anxiety, and loneliness. 

The historical childhood might justify her adulthood anxiety attacks and Valium drug uses. But the question is- was it justified to portray a Yoga and Meditation guru as a woman who is sinful in her private life? 

She indulges in a perverted relationship with her cousin, Tia’s fiancé. It is certain that we can argue that her actions can be justified through the means of causality.

But how can one justify why the producer of this movie, Karan Johar decided to develop Alisha as a Yoga acharya?! Can we pardon Deepika Padukone to standardise the depiction of the community of Yogacharyas as people who advocate the use of drugs in their private life? They barely have any control over their sexual conduct, and eventually, turn out to be murderers?

Why have ethical yoga acharyas been subjected to such bigotry?

Why did Johar choose to create a false narrative on the Hindu Dharma and its value system, in this instance Yoga? Why did he create such a cynical character having qualities which are contradictory to the community of professional yoga gurus? 

Regardless of what the real stakeholders might think, the movie Gehraiyaan seems to have succeeded in delivering a nasty message regarding Yoga and its practitioners to worldwide audiences.

In fact, a vast majority of youth depend upon cinema and literature to learn about a certain culture. And this depiction of a Yogic Guru has been entrenched into their minds by now.

It is true that there is no truth in stereotypes that Bollywood has been propagating in recent times. Yet, a lot of them are being produced every day.

Without demeaning Yoga and Yogacharyas, Karan Johar could have chosen an alternative career for the character of Alisha. She could have been created as an equally attractive woman if she were a gymnast, a Pilates trainer, an Aerobics teacher, or perhaps a coach of any of the hundreds of sports. 

We must recognise that these subtle mockeries have been a recurring pattern in Bollywood for many years now, but particularly more prominent in recent times. 

However, not all mockeries of Hindu Dharma are depicted subtly though. Some of them openly mock the Hindu culture to get a laugh out of worldwide audiences.

2014 Bollywood movie PK, starring Aamir Khan blatantly and loudly targets Hindutva. A scene from PK where the character of Amir Khan is seen putting a poster of Missing Gods is an epilogue to the entire act which targets the Hindu gods. He chases an actor who is in the costume of Lord Shiva. After trapping that person, Amir Khan tries to extort the same person.

This scene had been fearlessly produced by Rajkumar Hirani to create humour at the expense of tolerant Hindus. 

This is about a time when we question Bollywood for such a disrespectful streak of conduct! Why are Bharatiya tradition and Hindu Dharma repeated victims of their religious parodies? 

Section 295A of the IPC states that ‘Whoever, with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.’

Both the examples I have shared seem to be a deliberate intention of outraging the sentiments of the Hindu community and seem to be fit cases for the Section 295A of the IPC.

In the future too, let us stay vigilant for the enemies of our culture. When we catch an element that hurts our religious sentiments, whether subtle or blatant, should not be allowed to go unnoticed. Create some noise about it. It is a rightful thing to boycott celebrities who use their influence to demean our value system. And we shall not tolerate bad humour and fabricated stereotypes at the expense of our thousand years old Dharma and its symbols anymore.

About the author-

Punarnava Malhotra is an English Literature student from University of Delhi who spends her time weaving short tales or reading good literature. She doesn’t usually watch TV shows or movies, but if she does,  she is here to break it apart bit by bit and critically analyse it.

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