Despite an apology by the AIB team to the Archdiocese of Bombay and the Christian community, Christian groups on Wednesday met Bishop Agnelo Gracias and made it clear they intended to pursue the FIR filed against the AIB.
These groups have alleged that the AIB Knockout show, held on December 20 last year in Worli, insulted Jesus Christ and painted Catholic priests in a poor light.
“We are exercising our right to protest and complain about content we found objectionable to our faith. The altar is sacred for us,” said Judith Monteiro, member of the Association of Concerned Catholics. “We will pursue the FIR. We are following a non-violent form of protest, and saying sorry after every offensive thing will not do,” she added.
The Archdiocese’s own stand is that it will not pursue the matter, but will not stop these groups from seeking legal recourse.
“The Archdiocese will not pursue the case after accepting the apology, which we never demanded in the first place. After the event, the Bishop had simply expressed that though artistes are free to express themselves, certain elements were offensive. The Christian groups were upset with us for accepting the apology,” said Fr Nigel Barrett, spokesperson for the Archdiocese. He said the Bishop heard the groups on Wednesday and said they could exercise their right to pursue the matter. “But the Archdiocese wants no part in it,” he said.
The AIB Knockout’s live show and its recording on YouTube had social media abuzz with the “roast” of Bollywood actors Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh with Karan Johar acting as “roastmaster” in front of a 4,000-strong crowd at a Worli stadium. The show was held for charity.
Community seeks its own member on Censor Board
Meanwhile, a delegation of Christian leaders met the state’s Cultural Affairs Minister Vinod Tawde to complain against Bollywood’s representation of the Catholic-Christian community and to ask for an Archdiocesan-appointed representative on the state’s Censor Board.
A Catholic priest blessing the nuptials of two dogs in Bollywood movie Kya Supercool Hain Hum, a Catholic priest having an affair with a woman in Sin and a priest shown dancing with a garland of money around his neck in Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal as well as Hollywood movies involving worship of Satan were some of the movies the delegation cited as offensive.
“The community is hurt by Bollywood’s repeated wrong, distasteful depiction of the community and its faith. We do not wish to muzzle freedom of expression or interfere with creativity, but want to offer advice if we find a particular scene could be perceived as offensive. Instead of complaining each time and having protests, we want to pre-empt the situation,” Fr Barrett, who was part of the delegation, said.