I loved PK. Or rather, what the film attempts to convey. There were a few things that I thought did not gel with the story – I felt that they were rather brought in for the sake of ticking some items off a checklist, but that doesn’t make a huge difference to what I feel about it. All said and done, the movie conveys its point. For that, I applaud the PK team. But sadly, I am among the few lending the applause for a job well done.
So, rather than discussing the movie, which one must watch, I would like to contribute my two cents to the PK debate, if it is worth anything. I’ll do this by addressing a couple of major complaints that came up when I discussed the movie with friends and family.
Complaint #1: PK has not attacked other religions as much as it has attacked Hinduism.
This argument is just sad. I urge people who make this complaint to please look at the bigger picture.
The film talks mostly about those religious sentiments that come in the way of progress and those that harm people. Like bombing a train in the name of “saving” a religion (whichever religion it is). Like putting yourself through torture to “please” God. It makes you wonder, if at all putting certain sentiments ahead of reason is wise. But we have taken a major diversion from here and started questioning why the film has not attacked all other religions equally. The film does not say “Do away with Hinduism.” It says, “Do away with the concept of religion itself.”
I can hear Hirani sigh. As long as we are like this, there is no room for a healthy debate. In a way, the movie has unintentionally become counter-productive. Rather than discussing the reason behind a lot of our religious practices, we have started discussing why it hasn’t mocked other religions enough. It is not even the movie’s fault. It is just our mindset.
Complaint #2: Kamal Hassan was made to apologise for Vishwaroopam. Why not Aamir Khan?
This is another major complaint. “When Kamal Haasan made Vishwaroopam, he was asked to apologise to the Muslims for hurting their sentiments because they wouldn’t tolerate anything that offended them. But the Hindus being more tolerant do not make such demands and so they take Hindus for granted.”
That is true. Kamal Haasan was asked to apologise. But when that happened, some of us defended Vishwaroopam saying that the film does indeed depict reality and nothing was fabricated with the intention to offend the Muslims, that they do in fact read Quranic verses before the execution of a terrorist attack.
Going by the same argument, PK has not fabricated anything to offend the Hindus. In fact it is rather less damaging. It talks about our belief in God-people, which has not exactly been fabricated. It does happen. Having been a student of Amrita Vidyalayam myself, I know this better than most people. I am sure this is one of the biggest things that should have hurt the Hindus, but face it. It is true. I agree that certain things were exaggerated, like the “Bum Bum Bole” thing but then, that is not really the point. Films do exaggerate on certain things to drive home a message. So if we defend Vishwaroopam saying it does project reality, PK projects reality too.
And Aamir Khan hasn’t even directed the movie. At least in Kamal’s case, he was the director (and actor and screenplay writer etc).
Besides, the fact that Hindus are far more tolerant to criticisms of their religion shows that they are more broad-minded and secure, which is a good thing. If we also took to the roads, threatening to attack people for this, we are no better that those who do it.
Born into a family of right-wingers I can totally picture people being hurt by the movie. The film employs humour, mockery and sarcasm to convey its point. But I am open to receiving criticism about my religion when it is proven to me that something does not make sense.
So all I am trying to say here is, it is at least okay if we start debating whether or not following certain practices is right. But what are we bringing to the table? We are again getting into the ever-so-tiring “my religion and your religion” fight. That is why I say that the movie has unintentionally become counter-productive.
If you haven’t watched PK, go watch it with an open mind. If you have watched PK and are offended by it, try not to be. Rather, try to see if he does have a point. Please. Don’t miss the bigger picture.