The Jamiat Ulama-e-Maharashtra (JUeM) has taken strong objection to the depiction of ‘madrassas’ as schools of terror in the forthcoming Bollywood movie Ya Rab, an activist said in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The JUeM has also questioned the portrayal of madrassa ‘aalims’ (teachers) allegedly brainwashing their students to prepare them for ‘jihadi’ activities, said the NGO’s spokesperson Gulzar Azmi.
“These and other issues form part of a public interest petition I have filed before the Bombay High Court on Wednesday against the movie. It will come up for a hearing on Thursday before the scheduled release this Friday,” Azmi said.
The film’s producer seemed unfazed. He said: “It’s a nice film and will not hurt anybody’s sentiments or any community. The censor board is a responsible body and has seen the film and given a couple of cuts.”
Azmi said Muslims are upset by this “blatant, fictitious and wrongful depiction” of madrassas and the teachers who teach Muslim students there.
“In fact, a madrassa not only imparts quality education but also gives shelter to orphans. They are not centres of any such anti-national activity. There are no incidents anywhere in the state where any terror act or anti-national activities are associated with a madrassa,” Azmi said.
The panel of JUeM lawyers comprising A.A. Seddiqi, Ansar Tamboli and Mateen Shaikh said there are thousands of madrassas across the state and the rest of the country.
“The exhibition of such gross untruths on the big screen can create general disturbances and also lead to communal disharmony,” Seddiqi said.
Tamboli said the censor board had already rejected the film by not issuing it a certificate for exhibition. Later, the film-makers went to the review board where it was rejected.
“It was only after they appealed to the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal that they finally secured permission to release the movie with a U/A certificate. But we shall oppose the release in the present form,” said Tamboli.
Shaikh said the petitioners have sought the deletion of certain objectionable scenes and dialogue in the movie before allowing its public release.
The petition is expected to come up before Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M.S. Sanklecha here on Thursday.
Directed by Hasnain Hyderabadwala, Ya Rab is being promoted and released through veteran film personality Mahesh Bhatt’s company, Vishesh Films.
It features Ajaz Khan, Manzar Sehbai and Akhilendra Mishra.