Black Out – The West Bengal Police prevent screening of a film, Jai Shree Ram

Echoes of the deep schisms caused by and around the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, and the movement for building a temple in the name of Rama were felt on this December 6, 2015, 23 years later in West Bengal’s Behrampore. Jai Shree Ram, (Hail to Lord Ram) a film that was scheduled for a closed-door screening and at the hall that belongs to the Murshidabad People's Relief Committee was stopped as the police suddenly stepped in and prevented the event from going ahead.
A young film maker, Jul Mukherjee's 'Jai Shree Ram', is a full length feature film made over 24 months of hard work and individual contributions sourced through crowd funding. Why was this screening suddenly stopped by the West Bengal Police? The state’s chief minister, Mamta Banerjee has been quick to come out in support of Aamir Khan when he was targeted by rabid followers of Hindutvawaadi supremacist thought, recently.
There are four clips available on the film on You-Tube. Three are short trailers and the fourth is a fascinating discussion by the team behind the film titled, “Jai Shree Ram: Stories and Ideas behind the making of the film.”

One of the major protagonists for the film is a young Muslim, an atheist who is suddenly confronting an identity that is being thrust upon him “Are you a Bengali or a Muslim?” is a question that sums up the tragic-irony of the times. One of Jul’s team said he experienced every day what has been scripted in the film. The other major protagonist is a “Bahurupi Hanuman” who becomes a fundamentalist (read supremacist tool) of the masters behind the (Ramjanmabhoomi) movement.
Jul Mukherjee was 10-11 years old that Sunday in 1992, when the Babri Masjid was demolished. He recalls with chilling horror the conversations within his home, at Howrah, that had suddenly (following through the trajectory of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement)legitimised hatred against Indian Muslims.  Jul remembers being very scared that day, Sunday December 6. “Those B…they have arms,” he overheard his father telling his mother that afternoon, referring to a Muslim locality not far from where they lived.
The childhood of most urban Indians that day was shadowed by this discourse of othering and hatred. So the Rabindrasangeet sung by Ezaz Ahmed became for Jul, and his team, a rallying point even as Bengalis, fully showcasing that the Muslims (a significant percentage of West Bengal’s population) among them had always been wholehearted participants in the cherished Durga Pooja. Never mind that the amnesia generated by the Ramjanmabhoomi hysteria had Jul’s mother wondering how an Ezaz could sing this traditional Bengali song so well?
The team behind this innovative and courageous venture will go to the censor board for a certificate. The film maker feels that there are two scenes in the film that might have made the ruling party in Bengal uncomfortable with its screening. One is where the protagonist says he is the son of the Prophet. The other is a slaughter scene whom some have called gory.
Though made out mistakenly to be a documentary, Jai Shree Ram, is an independent full length feature film, shot over a period of two years with the financial help and contribution of innumerable persons. Post production took another year.
“Social” media trolls belonging to the Hindutvawaadi camp have been violently trashing the film and threatening its director and team. “We are a Hindu state” and such a film cannot be shown, is their claim.  
The creative team behind this venture however is committed to screening it all over the country. “If nothing else, “says Jul talking to us, “by just projecting it on a white wall, breaking all the code of "CINEMA".
The link of English subtitled trailers of the film are available on You-Tube:

First trailer

Second trailer 


Third trailer

Bahurupi: The term Bahurupi is came from the Sanskrit Bahu means many and Rupa means form. Bahurupis in Bengal are a group of folk performers who enact and depict different characters.
Hanuman: Signifying devotion and humility to a superior God, this form of the Monkey God is worshipped and also seen as leading the ‘army’ of Lord Ram in some dominant versions of Hinduism
Sree Ram: One of the revered Hindu Gods; also one of the re-born forms of Lord Vishnu, the Hindu Triumverate and in recent times (over three decades) both the focal and rallying point of a highly militarised and supremacist Hinduism
Hindutvawaadi: Derivative from Hindutva, the doctrine of a Hindu theocratic state (those who believe in the Hindu theocratic state)
Rabindrsangeet: Tagore Songs, written and composed by Rabindrnath Tagore; these renderings have distinctive charecteristics in the music of Bengal and are popular in both India and Bangladesh



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