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Catholics upset at portrayal in new Bollywood film

Delegation demands special screening and deletion of ‘disrespectful’ scenes

Gulf News

Mumbai: Catholics have threatened to stop the screening of a forthcoming Hindi movie directed by Priyadarshan called “Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal” if certain scenes presenting a “disrespectful portrayal” of the community and its priests are not deleted.

A delegation of representatives of Catholic groups and a priest representing the Archdiocese of Bombay met and submitted a memorandum to Central Board of Film Certification chairperson Leela Samson on Saturday.

Copies of the memorandum highlighting the community’s grievances have also been sent to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and censor board CEO Pankaja Thakur, according to Judith Monteiro, secretary of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC).

“We have registered our protest against the movie,” she said. “We have demanded a special screening of the movie urgently and deletion of objectionable scenes based on a review by the Catholic community representatives.”

Catholic Secular Forum chief Joseph Dias pointed out that stereotyping of Christians has existed in films.

“This time with the priest shown in such bad light, Bollywood has hit a new low,” he said. “We call for the resignation of Leela Samson and the transfer of [Pankaja] Thakur.”

Father Rueben Tellis, representative of the Archdiocese of Bombay, also referred to an earlier movie, “Kya Superkool Hai Hum”, which had offensive scenes of a Catholic priest and reiterated the community’s demand for a permanent representative on the censor board to prevent such recurrences in the guise of “cinematic liberty”.

The delegation included members of AoCC, CSF, Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum, Catholic Residents Organisation for Social Servicess (CROSS) and Father Tellis.

Demanding a special screening by Monday, Monteiro listed some of the scenes she deems objectionable. They include a Catholic priest (Asrani) dancing with a rosary around his neck and wearing a garland of lottery tickets with a church in the background, an actor (Shreyas Talpade) misusing the Holy Water Sprinkler and a priest with a bouquet of flowers with an ‘I Love You’ message.