By Syed Ali Mujtaba
Chennai: On the heels of the movie ‘The Kerala Story’ ‘ another movie called “Farhana” is creating controversy in Tamil Nadu. The film which is centered on a Muslim Woman has drawn wrath from the Islamic Organizations in the state.
The Indian National League (INL) has termed the film “anti-Islamic” and alleged that it portrayed the Muslim community in a particular way. INL Leader Tada J Abdul Rahim has filed a complaint against the film with Chennai Police Commissioner to ban the film.
‘The teaser of the movie depicts a Muslim woman who does sex work across the world wearing a burqa. It is an insult to Islamic culture by the virulent Hindutva politics,’ the INL leader said in his complaint.
The heat of the Muslim protest is so ferocious that Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal has to deploy a large number of police forces outside the home of its actress Aishwarya Rajesh who has essayed the role of “Farhana” in the movie.
Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam leader M.H Jawahirullah while opposing the film said that the film ‘Farhana’ is not only an insult to Muslim women but to the entire women community in the country.
A protest was held by the Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam party near the old bus stand in Tiruvarur district. In the wake of large-scale protests, some theatres have announced to cancel the screening of the movie in Tamil Nadu.
Story Line: Farhana, is a young married Muslim woman who defies her conservative father and starts working at a call center to supplement her family income. She is moved to a new department in her office with better incentives. Till then she did not realize that her new job is to do phone sex chat. She was in shock and discomfort to do such a job. But ultimately due to her economic condition at home, she prefers to do the job. There she strikes up an unlikely friendship with one of her callers and gradually develops a connection with him who seeks companionship and conversation with her. The Caller turns out to be an obsessive, predatory man.
That’s why the movie ‘Farhana’ is caught up in controversy. The main objection is because of a very particular plot point as the film brings in a Muslim woman to do the sex talk.
Why the scriptwriter has brought this angle to his story? Isn’t it the brainchild of a psychologically constipated person who finds evil in everything that is Muslim? The same story could have been zeroed on Iyer or Iyengar women but why a Muslim protagonist is chosen for this job?
For the answer one needs to go in for a flashback into the Hindi cinema of the sixties and seventies when all the vamps roles were reserved for Christian women. The seductress buxom beauties wearing ‘cross’ and with low necklines and micro mini skirts were demolished as fallen women. This trend is now taking a turn against Muslim women because of Hindutva politics ruling the roost in the country. Those who have scripted this story may have taken a cue from the movie Kashmir file, that minted cores at the box office. These days anti Muslim movie is a huge grosser due to the artificially created atmosphere by the ‘Hindutva’ forces in the country.
The makers of the film have issued a press release saying that “Farhana” is not against any religion or community. It has been duly censored by the government.”
The film is produced by Dream Warrior Pictures. It is directed by Nelson Venkatesan. It stars Aishwarya Rajesh and Anumol among others. The movie is set up in Triplicane, a Muslim-dominated locality in Chennai, which is the earliest Muslim settlement in Madras.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at email@example.com