After The Kerala Story, two Tamil films exposing fundamentalist concepts of the Islamic ideology face threats from Islamists. Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamaat and Indian National League have filed complaints seeking to remove Burqa from the OTT platform and remove the teaser of Farhana from youtube.
Recently a Tamil movie, Burqa, about the Islamic concept of iddat or iddah which forbids a woman from going out of her house for a certain period was released on OTT. It is followed to ensure the chastity of a woman who lost her husband or a divorcee and to ascertain the paternity of the child in case she becomes pregnant. The leads, a Muslim widow and a wounded atheist man(Surya) taking refuge in her house discussing the regressive nature of the custom. Sarjun KM, director of the movie said that the story evolved from a personal experience and that he felt it must be told to a wider audience.
It was released on Aha, an OTT for Tamil entertainment content, on April 7. Some parts of the movie reportedly have the lead characters discussing wearing purdah and other regressive practices of Islam which has ruffled the feathers of Islamists. It is another matter that the movie begins with a riot showing the time as the month of December and the male lead talks about his mother being oppressed by regressive customs.
The teaser of another movie,Farhana, featuring a Muslim woman as the lead character also got the attention of Islamists as it shows a woman trying to break the shackles of regressive beliefs of Islam. From certain scenes of the teaser it appears that the lead character chooses to work in a call centre to give a good life to her children. The scenes give hints about the job being a shady one, probably of sexting.
Islamists have described it as “a Muslim woman shedding her purdah and doing prostitution to earn money”. Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamaat(TNTJ) filed a complaint and demanded the arrest of the crews of both films claiming that they had the potential to trigger communal violence. Ansari, Secretary of TNTJ told media that “In the movie ‘Burqa’ released on an OTT platform, lines from the Quran were shown and it was portrayed as if Islam is speaking unscientific facts. In the movie ‘Farhana’, to be released in May this year, Musilm women were shown in a derogatory manner by showing that they encourage prostitution”.
He further said that people with Sangh parivar ideology are making such movies to disturb the social fabric of TN and opposed allowing such movies to be screened in the state. Recently, The Great Indian Kitchen, a remake of the Malayalam movie with the same title with Farhana’s lead Aishwarya Rajesh in lead role was released in Tamil. The movie depicted Hindus as a regressive community oppressing women and showed the Brahmin in poor light. Non-Hindus and Hindus In Name Only(HINO) welcomed it with enthusiasm as it demonised Hindu customs.