While Ranbir Kapoor starrer ‘Sanju’ continues to break many records at the Box Office, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has flayed the film, calling it an attempt to whitewash the crimes of Sanjay Dutt. ‘Panchjanya’, the official mouthpiece of RSS, has published a cover story titled “Kirdaar, daagdaar” (character, stained), on the film, asking why Hindi cinema has so much interest in making films on tainted characters. The article also questions the motive of filmmaker Raj Kumar Hirani.
“These days, filmmakers’ special interest lies in mafia and underworld dons, or in the context of Sanju, actors connected to the underworld,” the cover story says while elaborating on how Bollywood has regularly produced films on criminals, and attempted to “glorify” them over the last few years. The article points out some of the films like Shraddha Kapoor’s Hasina Parkar, Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees, Ajay Devgan and Akshay Kumar’s Once Upon a Time in Mumbai and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara respectively, and D Company.
Hinting at a conspiracy behind Bollywood’s obsession with underworld dons, the cover story asks, “Why is the Mumbai film industry according so much importance to Mafia and the underworld. Why are big budget films based on India’s ‘most wanted’ criminal, who is linked to 1993 Bombay blasts, Dawood Ibrahim, or his sister Hasina Parkar, or Chhota Rajan, or Arun Gawli, or Gujarat’s famous criminal Abdul, or Haji Mastan, being made after every one-two years.”
“People are asking on social media – On whose direction is all of this happening? Is money from the Gulf (West Asia) behind this? Is there some hidden power behind the flood of Muslim filmmakers and splurge of money on the three Khans? Which is that power that wants Indian minds to get accustomed to characters who have no regard for law, who challenge the sovereignty of the country, who mock India’s real culture and practices, who in the name of Ganga-Jamuni tehjeeb, lobby for ‘big-hearted’ Islamic characters?”
The RSS mouthpiece also goes on to question the intentions of Hirani. “Fifty five-year-old Rajkumar Hirani is the same person who in 2014 film ‘PK’ subtly made Hindu religion, its symbols and values a matter of mockery.”
The cover story further questions what message films like Sanju or Raees wish to convey to the society. “…films are said to be a mirror to the society and they show what is happening. On this criteria, it is not easy to guess where films like Sanju, D-Company, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai or Raees stand. In fact, from the business point of view, a spicy story is selected and presented as entertainment with the add-ons of emotions, drama and comedy. But what is the guarantee that youths spending weekends in cinema halls for three hours to lose stress, will not get overwhelmed by such characters?”
The scathing article further points out the “irony” of releasing a film like Raees’ a day before the Republic Day 2017. “The 2017 films was based on Gujarati criminal Abdul Lateef. Irony is that the film based on a criminal in 2017 was released just a day before the Republic Day. The main character, Shah Rukh Khan, was accused of indirectly trying to generate sympathy in the hearts of people for the criminal.”
Panchajanya editor Hitesh Shankar told The Hindu that the RSS outlet considered it their “duty” to “flag the point that these kind of films were not only whitewashing what Sanjay Dutt did but were also glorifying those values.”
In sharp contrast to the RSS’ mouthpiece view, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said two days ago that Sanju is a “beautiful” film. “I have seen the film. It’s a beautiful film. It shows how certain perception in the media, police and judiciary can adversely affect someone. It had severely disturbed the lives of both Sunil Dutt and his son Sanjay,” The Indian Express quoted Gadkari on saying.
The Union minister further said he was told by Late Balasaheb Thackeray that Sanjay Dutt was not guilty. “Late Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray had once told me that Sanjay Dutt was completely innocent. I always say that the media should be extra careful when it is writing about any bank or any individual.”