Anubhav Sinha's much awaited thriller "Article 15" that is reportedly inspired from the Badaun rape and murder case, seems to be heading for trouble.
The film, slated for a June 28 release, has earned the ire of the Brahmin community in Uttar Pradesh. Starring Ayushman Khurana in the lead, the film has been shot in and around Lucknow.
Brahmins are upset over the fact that the story has been "tweaked". With the intention of portraying the accused men as Brahmins, they feel it will defame the community.
The trailer of the film, which was released last week, shows two young girls of a village brutally raped and murdered, their bodies hanging from a tree. It shows the girls -- whose families are marginalised and forced to work as laborers -- were targeted because they demanded a hike of Rs 3, in their daily wages.
The film depicts how caste equations are prevalent in the area.
The trailer also mentions that the crime was committed by one ‘Mahantji ke ladke'. Mahantji is mentioned as a Brahmin of the highest order and this has upset the Brahmin community.
Scenes from the trailer show how the people in the area believe that the Dalits have no right to demand higher wages, and their status is only what the ‘upper caste' deems fit for them.
Ayushman Khurana, who plays the police officer investigating the case, is a Brahmin and deals with the caste complexities of the case.
The Badaun rape and murder case took place in 2014 when the Akhilesh Yadav government was in power in Uttar Pradesh.
The accused were named Pappu Yadav, Avadhesh Yadav, Urvesh Yadav, Chhatrapal Yadav and Sarvesh Yadav. Chhatrapal and Sarvesh were policemen. The Police Department was accused of showing leniency to the accused in the case due to political pressure from the Samajwadi Party which was favoring the Yadavs.
"If the film is based on the Badaun incident, where was the need to turn the accused into Brahmins? It is obvious that the intention is to malign the Brahmin community. We have started creating awareness about the issue and we will not allow the film to release here," said Kushal Tiwari a young student leader, who is a member of the Parshuram Sena, a Brahmin outfit.
Tiwari said if Thakurs can stall the release of "Padmaavat", why can't Brahmins fight for their honour in this film? "We are launching a campaign on the social media and we have also been trying to contact the film director Anubhav Singh but he has not been taking our calls," he said.
He further said that while the film was being shot in Lucknow in March and April, they were not aware of the story line and hence did not protest.
Meanwhile, film director Anubhav Sinha could not be contacted but Manoj Pahwa, who plays an important role in the film, told a news agency: "The film is not completely based on the heinous crime that took place in Badaun where the two girls were raped and hanged. This film is merely inspired by that incident and named as "Article 15' which gives right to equality to all."