Why did Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita anger pro-Hindu groups ahead of release?

Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita is scheduled to be released on September 15 after receiving a censor recommendation from the Film Development Board. This comes as a relief for the filmmakers who have had to deal with a lot of issues due to the name of the film.

The film, which was previously titled, Ek Bhagavad Gita, struggled to receive a censor recommendation from the Film Development Board five days prior to its release. Various pro-Hindu groups were adamant the makers change the name of the film as it hurt the sentiments of people who follow the Sanatan Dharma. The pro-Hindu groups even filed a complaint at the board about the title and content of the film.

The incident has stirred up quite a commotion in the film industry, leaving many curious about what is exactly going on. Many in the industry felt the controversy was unnecessary and the film was being targeted needlessly as those who protested had a prejudice against them.

To address this curiosity, Onlinekhabar has put together an explainer that comprehensively covers the controversy surrounding the Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita and how the film finally came to an agreement with pro-Hindu groups and receive a censor recommendation which will help the makers release the film on the scheduled date.

Reason for conflict

Ek Bhagavad Gita - Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita

The conflict over the film’s title arose right from the beginning. As Jharana Thapa started directing the film, people had a problem with its name. A few religious organisations lodged a complaint with the Film Development Board, insisting it to order the makers to change the name of the film.

Initially titled Bhagavad Gita, the producer made a slight change to the name, making it Ek Bhagavad Gita in response to the complaint. However, even this adjustment did not quell the controversy.

The producers even added a dash to the name of the film and made it Ek Bhagavad-Gita. Even that did not stop the pro-Hindu groups from filing a complaint as they even said the film could potentially convey negative messages due to its portrayal of a love story involving children.

What did the pro-Hindu groups want?

Last week, the board called both parties for a potential resolution. Suhana Thapa, the director the the film, even gave the entire script to people representing the pro-Hindu groups. She felt this would help end the controversy but the people representing the pro-Hindu groups did not want to listen. As tensions heightened, the board ultimately declined to provide a censor recommendation for the movie.

Filmmakers feel misunderstood

The producer asserts that both the title and the storyline of Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita do not intend to offend the sentiments of Sanatan Dharma. He maintains that the film’s title is derived from a character’s name and emphasises that it is a love story. Director Jharana Thapa clarifies that the film is not religious in nature, but rather centres around the narrative of an LGBTQIA+ relationship.

Under pressure

Film Development Board
Film Development Board has had its hand full due to the issue surrounding Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita.

The Film Development Board was under immense pressure. What did not help was a notice issued by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The ministry did not want this controversy to drag on and asked the board to expedite the resolution of the issue.

After months of dialogue, the board has been able to resolve it but it is unlikely the filmmakers are happy as they have had to change the name of the film quite thoroughly. With the name being changed to Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita, the team will have to market the film again.

Sunil Thapa did not want to change the name but he had no choice given the film would have not been released had he not changed it to Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita.

Voice of critics and filmmakers

Photo: Screengrab from the trailer of Ek Bhagavad Gita
Photo: Screengrab from the trailer of Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita

According to film critic Yangesh, the law stipulates that decisions should be made exclusively by bodies designated by legal authority. If anyone is discontented with a decision, they have the right to seek legal recourse. Yangesh emphasises that apart from the Film Censor Board, no other organisation holds the authority to censor a film. He contends that the character in the film represents an individual, not a community.

That said, to ensure they did not upset an entire community, the makers have decided to change the name.

At a meeting held at the board on Sunday, the protestors and the filmmakers have come to an agreement. Ek Bhagavad ra Ek Gita will be released on September 15, but what impact will the name change have on its performance remains to be seen.

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