Hindu nationalists pull protest of Bollywood ‘Forrest Gump’ remake

According to Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates given “you never know what you’re going to get”. Now, an Indian reconstitute of a film has been strike by protest calls over years-old comments by a Muslim star Aamir Khan.

It is a latest instance of how Bollywood actors, quite minority Muslims like Khan, are feeling increasing vigour underneath Hindu jingoist Prime Minister Modi.

“Laal Singh Chaddha”, an Indian spin on a 1994 Hollywood strike with Tom Hanks, is approaching to be one of India’s biggest films of 2022.

This is due in vast partial to a categorical star, 57-year-old Khan, one of a Indian industry’s many bankable actors with past blockbusters like “3 Idiots” (2009) and “Dangal” (2016).

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But forward of a Aug 11 release, a internet is awash with clips from a 2015 talk when Khan voiced a flourishing “sense of fear” and that he and his then-wife discussed withdrawal India.

“She fears for her child. She fears about what a atmosphere around us will be. She feels frightened to open a newspapers each day,” he said.

More than 200,000 tweets, many from supporters of Modi’s BJP party, have been common given final month job for people to spurn a film with a hashtag #BoycottLaalSinghChaddha.

“Aamir Khan married dual Hindu Women, nonetheless named his kids Junaid, Azad Ira. (Hindu co-star) Kareena (Kapoor) married a Muslim shortly named her kids Taimur Jehangir,” pronounced one tweet, referring to a children’s standard Muslim names.

“That’s adequate reasons to protest Lal Singh Chaddha, fundamentally a prolongation from Bollywood’s Love Jihad club. #BoycottLaalSinghChaddha,” it added, regulating a derogative tenure coined by Hindu nationalists who credit Muslim organisation of marrying Hindu women and forcing them to convert.


Nicknamed “Mr Perfectionist”, Khan has been credited with pulling films over Bollywood’s normal transport of strain and dance into amicable and informative issues.

He also hosted a TV discuss uncover — “Satyamev Jayate” — that discussed huffy themes like rape, domestic assault and corruption.

The outcry over his new film — that adapts Hanks’ famous line to contend that “life is like a golgappa”, an Indian break — is such that this week Khan stressed his patriotism, a pivotal principle of a Modi government.

“I feel unhappy that some of a people… trust that we am someone who doesn’t like India,” he told internal media.

“That’s not a case. Please don’t protest my film. Please watch my film.”


Films have prolonged sparked debate — as good as assault — in a movie-mad nation of 1.4 billion people.

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But a feverishness being felt by Khan, one of a purchase of Muslim megastars in a attention along with Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, mirrors flourishing intolerance, marginalisation and misrepresentation of a minority, commentators say.

“There is no doubt that Aamir is being targeted by those swelling loathing towards Muslims,” one commentator, who wished to sojourn unknown for fear of apropos a aim himself, told AFP.

Hindu hegemony

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) owes a origins to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a quarrelsome organisation espousing “Hindutva”, or creation India an exclusively Hindu state.

Lynchings of Muslims by Hindu mobs over supposed cow insurance — a dedicated animal for many Hindus — and other hatred crimes have sown fear in a 200- million-strong Muslim population.

Social media is full of misinformation claiming that Muslims will shortly outnumber Hindus — due to inter-religious marriages — or that a minority is a perfidious fifth mainstay corroborated by Pakistan.


Critics contend that a world’s many inclusive film attention and a stars have been gradually changing their outlay to fit a supervision account given Modi came to energy in 2014.

In 2019, a hagiographic “PM Narendra Modi” was too most even for a Election Commission, that behind a recover until after a opinion that year.

There has been a new fibre of military-themed cinema that have been nationalistic, all-guns-blazing stories of heroics by soldiers and military — customarily Hindus — opposite enemies outward and within India.

This year’s “The Kashmir Files”, about a journey of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kashmir in 1989-90, saw incidents of people in cinemas job for punish killings of Muslims.

Film censor and author Anna MM Vetticad pronounced a methods to “subordinate India’s Muslims and Christians to a infancy community… embody demonising these minorities, and constantly perfectionist explanation of their patriotism”.

But small is approaching to change.

“India’s tragedy is that a infancy in Bollywood… are apathetic, opportunistic or afraid,” Vetticad told AFP.