Vishwaroopam: Terror gratuity?

The Tamil Nadu government has pre-emptively banned the film Vishwaroopam, biggest project of Kamal Hasan because of objections from some Islamic groups. Insiders provide insights into the new technique of vested interests in demanding gratuity through terror tactics exploitinng religious sentiments.

The makers of the film has arranged a special screening to the objecting Islamic group members and had explained the context and the content of the movie. Vishwaroopam is terrorism based thriller movie. It deals with the general perception about Muslims being fanatic, and would try to explore as to who is the root cause for global terrorism. It seems that he is set to condemn the way US and other countries behave. But, Islamic organisations including the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK) started protesting the release of the movie claiming hurt religious sentiments. TMMK leader Jawahirullah claimed, “There is a danger that the public may view any Muslim with a beard as a terrorist waiting for an opportunity to plant a bomb.” Even while the film makers and Kamal himself trying to negotiate with the protestors, a representative of one such group is on record, saying: “We intend to register our apprehensions that release of the film with even deleted scenes or changes will affect the social harmony and all-round peace in the state.”

It is interesting to note that Vishwaroopam has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) long back. One director Anubhav Sinha asks, not unreasonably, on his social media feeds: “Is the TN Govt saying that they do not recognize CBFC? Or they can’t handle law and order? Or they subscribe to the objection? When a Government needs to ride on a movie star you should know how intellectually and politically bankrupt they are.” Anurag Kashyap adds: “How can anyone decide what the film is about without seeing it? And how can the government pander to such groups?”

Kamal Hasan is appalled at how his film is construed to be against Muslim contrary to the actual content and message of the movie. Kamal in his real life was always a sympathizer of Muslims and is a part of an organization called Harmony India, which worked for Hindu Muslim unity. In his letter released through media to the public he says “I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happening again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose. Now I will rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop. I thank those who rose to the occasion and to my support on the Internet.” He is also said  “My film is neither about terrorism nor Islam. It won’t even hurt any community for that matter. The story traverses through the adversities of war, and, therefore it may appear as though it’s about terrorism, but it’s not,”

The real story being behind the ban points to the money making mentality of vested interests expoiting religion. Not so long ago, Thuppakki directed by AR Murugadoss and starring Vijay, was targeted by the selfsame groups. The producers met the groups and quietly reached a settlement. Rs 25 lakh changed hands, the objections vanished faster than you could say ‘cultural terrorism bribe’, the film released, and the producers laughed their way to all the banks in the land.

Perhaps, to deal with these kind of controversies, gratuities are the only practical way forward. Ultimately in the Vishwaroopam imbroglio, the public are the losers. Advance bookings had opened and in most places tickets had sold out for the weekend in less than 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the man in the eye of the storm, Kamal, has moved the Madras High Court. Director Shekhar Kapur, who essays a pivotal role in the film reports on Twitter: “Just checked Hotel Bel Air in LA. Just met Kamal Hassan looking calm n strong despite d storm around Vishwaroopam.”

Storyline of the movie: Vishwanath alias Wiz, a Kathak exponent, and Nirupama, get married. Each have an agenda and seem to have achieved their wishes in three years of matrimony. Nirupama gets her Ph.D and Wiz runs his dance class in New Jersey unhindered by each other. All is fine till Dr. Nirupama aspires for more and wants to opt out of the arranged marriage. She cannot cite any specific reason to leave Wiz as there is nothing much to complain about him. Every male according to Nirupama must have a flaw. So she decides to find out something about him to feel better about her decision to part. She hires a detective to rake up something on him. Wires get cross-connected and all hell breaks loose.


Triumphant tour to establish Dharma

Acharya of Sringeri undertakes one year tour to re-establish Sanatana Dharma among massess in the southern India.

Sringeri Pontiff  Sri Bharati Tirtha has undertaken a Digvijaya Yatra (tour of comprehensive conquer) from 26th February 2012.  The Yatra is a spiritual journey in all directions teaching principles responsible for the sustenance of the world.  For one year,  the seer will lead the Yatra to grace various places across the country.

The purpose of the Vijaya Yatra is to dispel doubts, restore faith, and propagate the Upanishadic philosophy. The tour restores Sanatana Dharma throughout the length and breadth of this ancient land and establish it deeply in the hearts and minds of the people.

Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, has undertaken many Vijaya Yatras since His Sannyasa in 1974. Some of the notable Yatras include the ones in 1975, 1977, and 1981 with His Guru (Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji, the 35th Acharya of Sringeri), and in 1987-88, 1992, 1994-95, 2007, and 2010 as the 36th Acharya.  These tours are continuation of the tradition was initiated by Adi Sankara and passed on by the previous Paramahamsa Parivraajaka-acharyas of Sringer.

Paramahamsa refers to the highest order among sannyasis, Parivraajaka implies that the sannyasi moves frequently from place to place. Acharya refers to one who knows the import of the Shastras, is established in rightful conduct (achara), and causes others to be established in it.

During the Vijaya Yatra, the Sringeri Jagadguru would establish or revive many smaller maths and appoint heads (Mathadhipatis) to preserve and renew the eternal Dharma in their communities. New temples will be consecrated while dilapidated ones will be renovated. Through His presence, the Jagadguru will guide gatherings of devotees in the study of Vedas and the Shastras. He will also deliver several discourses to reinforce the teachings of Sanatana Dharma. Sankaracharya of Sringeri would teach Advaita (non-dualism) to the massess.

The Vijaya Yatra is a special occasion for all devotees and supporters to participate in a great tradition. It enables everyone to reconnect with Sanatana Dharma in order to obtain happiness and peace at a time of suffering and uncertainty in the world.  The yatr enables everyone to see a living saint who exemplifies Sanatana Dharma and be graced by His presence and blessings.

Kumbh Mela brings economic prosperity

Kumbh Mela, the biggest congregation of the world, would generate heightened economic activity in multiple sectors leading to a huge income levels to government agencies and to individual traders. According to a paper published by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), tourism, hotel, transport, health and infrastructure sectors would receive additional boost during the Kumbh Mela event.  According to an estimate, the state government alone would generate Rs 12,000 crores of revenue because of the Kumbh Mela.  Although the Kumbh Mela is spiritual and religious in nature, associated economic activities would generate employment opportunities for over six lakh workers across many sectors including eco-tourism.

The ASSOCHAM, the apex trade association of India, has published its findings of a study assessing the impact of Kumbh Mela on various sectors in a paper titled ‘Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 – Possible Revenue Generation Resources for Uttar Pradesh’. The assessment has detailed the impact of the Mela on both organized and unorganized sectors.  The paper suggests that the overall business in the course of the two months of the Kumbh Mela could be worth between Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 crore. The study provides sector-wise break-up of revenue estimates and employment generation statistics.

The Maha Kumbh will begin on January 27 and conclude on February 25.  The piligrimage will attract a  large number of foreign tourists from as far apart as Australia, UK, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.  The hospitality industry in the region is targeting 100 per cent occupancy across the board in small, budget and luxury hotels during the Maha Kumbh.  Apart from UP, states like Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jabalpur, Udaipur, Bhilwara, Kota), Uttarkhand (Nainital, Mussoorie, Aulli, Dehradun, Haridwar, Ranikhet, Almora), Punjab (Amrtisar, Ludhiana) and Himachal Pradesh (Shimla, Kufri, Manali, Panchkula), will majorly benefit from the enhanced revenue generation with a large number of national and foreign tourists expected to explore other destinations.

Uttar Pradesh Tourism and the Railways are likely to share in a revenue bonanza of a whopping Rs 1,500 crore along with airports and private hospitals by offering attractive tours and medical tourism packages to the tourists and piligrims. The employment generation figures due to Kumbh are likely going to be as follow: Hotels 2.5 lakh jobs; Airlines and airports 1.5 lakh; Tour operators 45,000, Eco-tourism and medical tourism 50,000 and Skilled and unskilled workers for construction/ renovation 85,000. Add 55,000 new jobs in the unorganised sector comprising tour guides, taxi drivers, interpreters, volunteers, etc and the employment generation potential of the festival stands at a massive 6.35 lakh jobs.

The Maha-Kumbh, a sacred Hindu pilgrimage, is thus expected to generate direct and indirect business activities, the fruits of which would hopefully benefit the masses of Uttar Pradesh.