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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Kerala Christian outfits object to titles, filmmaker says no change

“I have the backing of the directors’ union, which felt that if the titles are changed, in future it would be difficult to give a title for a movie,” Nadirshah said.

By: Express News Service | Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: August 10, 2021 6:29:07 pm
Malayalam filmmaker Nadirshah, nadirshah, eesho, Kerala Christian outfits protets, Nadirshah movie titles, Nadirshah movie protest, Indian expressNadirshah (Facebook)

While a section of Christian community in Kerala, including the influential Catholic Church, has alleged that titles of two upcoming Malayalam films directed by Nadirshah insult Christ and have sought renaming them, the filmmaker has refused to change the titles, even as he agreed to drop the tag-line of one of the films.

“I have the backing of the directors’ union, which felt that if the titles are changed, in future it would be difficult to give a title for a movie,” Nadirshah said. “The tag-line ‘not from the Bible’ was given for the film ‘Eesho’ to avoid confusion. But since it created a controversy, we have already dropped the tag-line,’’ he said.

Nadirshah recently released the teasers of ‘Eesho’, with the tag-line “not from the Bible’’, and ‘Keshu Ee Veedinte Nathan (Keshu is the lord of this house)’. Christians in Kerala refer to Christ as Eesho.

The protesting Christians groups also drew a parallel between Eesho and Keshu in the title of the second movie — they said that, too, amounted to an insult to Christ.

In a release on Monday, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, stated, without naming the films, “Even as giving due importance for freedom of expression, that right should not hurt religious sentiments…. It (is) expected that persons concerned would make necessary corrections after realising the anxiety of Christian community.”

Catholic Congress, a laymen association promoted by the Catholic Church, announced an agitation in front of the state secretariat starting August 11, demanding that both films be banned.

The outfit also sought a probe into the funding of the movies, saying the titles were intended to insult the Christian faith.

Veteran film director and president of the directors’ union, Siby Malayil, called the criticism immature. He said, “No one expects such a reaction from the Christian community, which has a history of tolerance. An artiste has the freedom to tell his audience about his work. This kind of protest would impact the freedom of expression in future. They are protesting without knowing the content of the movies.”

Nadirshah said all his previous films have been titled after protagonists, and that was maintained in the latest projects. “The titles were finalised following a collective decision involving other professionals in the making of the movies. If there is anything that hurts religious sentiments, I am ready to face any punishment…. As a film professional, I have encouraged people from all religions.”

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