After New Zealand, should India ban ‘Hotel Mumbai’ as well? 

Dev Patel starrer-‘Hotel Mumbai’, a film based on 26/11 attacks on Taj Hotel has been banned by the New Zealand government as it portrays Muslims as radicalised terrorists

After New Zealand, should India ban ‘Hotel Mumbai’ as well? 

Subhash K Jha

After the horrific attack on a mosque in New Zealand, the Kiwi government has banned the theatrical screening of Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai, the deeply disturbing haunting and finally rewarding but damnifying movie about the 26/11 attacks on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, which left 164 dead and many more scared and scarred for life.

Now sources say that the film is all set to release in India in June. Hotel Mumbai is a relevant film. But it’s also dangerous to show Muslims as radicalised terrorists. The Prime Minister of New Zealand realised what kind of global chaos, extremism can lead to. What if the white population of the world takes up arms against Muslims across the world? This is a new danger that has now permeated into the global scourge of terrorism.

Bollywood historical films like Padmaavat and Kesari show Muslims as red-eyed fanatics plundering, looting and killing with sadistic glee. This may not be the best method to portray extremism in the context of the lurking danger of white radicalisation.

The very popular Armie Hammer who plays a white American married to a Muslim woman (Iranian actress Nazneen Bonaidi) has gone to great lengths in his promotional interviews to separate the Muslim population from radicalised Muslims. The film’s Iranian leading lady has also repeatedly asserted that she would never be part of any film that insults the Muslim community.

The NZ Prime Minister has banned the playing of the video that the NZ attacker recorded while shooting his victims. The possession of, and even the playing of the live recording of the NZ massacre is illegal in the country.

Hotel Mumbai uses the tape transcripts of conversations of the terrorists and their family and their masters. Should that be allowed? Should the Indian Censor Board step in and clean out the film, ensure that Muslims are not seen as the enemy and that there is a line dividing Muslims from extremists which most Muslims never dream of crossing.

Anupam Kher, who plays the pivotal role of Taj Hotel chef Hemant Oberoi, feels Hotel Mumbai has nothing to send out wrong signals about the Muslim population. “It is about a situation and an incident that is not forgotten the worldover. No one blamed any community or section of civilians for what happened on 26/11. I don’t think that has changed,” he says.

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