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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Nikita’s murderer Tauseef says he was inspired by Amazon Prime’s ‘Mirzapur’

Is it time for moviemakers to reflect on content shown in movies and web-series after Tauseef, the murderer of college student Nikita Tomar, claimed that he was inspired by Mirzapur 2 where the lead actor is shown murdering the girl “he loves” because she rejects his proposal.

We need to remember that Nikita’s murder fits a clear pattern of crimes in which Hindu girls are stalked/groomed by Muslim men (who often assume fake Hindu identities), forced to convert to Islam for marriage or subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation. In Tauseef’s case, his mother too was pestering Nikita to convert to Islam and marry her son; such abetment by the Muslim male’s family & Muslim socio-religious institutions is another disturbing feature often seen in such cases.

So whatever role Mirzapur played in influencing Tauseef’s final act of violence can only be called incidental to the religious fanaticism which was the driving force behind his crime. Still, his statement during interrogation about the influence of Mirzapur merits consideration, as it sheds some light on what could be driving stalking behavior, in general.

The entertainment industry shapes the psyche of the people and the youth, in particular, is often seen imitating what is shown on-screen. The generation of 80s and 90s which grew up on a steady dose of Bollywood led by the Kumars and the Khans learnt that “ladki ki naa bhi haan hoti hai” (a girl’s refusal of your proposal means approval or acceptance of it). Today’s generation is being inspired by protagonists who kill the “girl they love” if she turns down their proposal.

That surely doesn’t qualify as love but as self-obsession and extremely egotist behavior. But such behavior gets legitimized by the entertainment industry and whether we accept it or not, this is one of the most impactful industries after cricket in Bharat. Actors and actresses are not just hero-worshipped but also emulated.

OTT web content has made violent, degenerate content easily available on the fingertips of people. Since OTT content has no censor control, anything and everything is passed off in the name of creativity. Unsupervised access to such content often leads to anti-social streaks especially among the young.

Research has shown that violent behavior is prone to mimicking which is why we often see on-screen violence replicating itself off-screen. The same study has this to say about impact of on-screen violence on the human mind:

“Research evidence has accumulated over the past half-century that exposure to violence on television, movies, and most recently in video games increases the risk of violent behavior on the viewer’s part just as growing up in an environment filled with real violence increases the risk of violent behavior. Correspondingly, the recent increase in the use of mobile phones, text messaging, e-mail, and chat rooms by our youth have opened new venues for social interaction in which aggression can occur and youth can be victimized – new venues that break the old boundaries of family, neighborhood, and community that might have protected our youth to some extent in the past.”

Online entertainment platforms like Zee5, Amazon Prime, Netflix etc, also known as OTT (‘over-the-top’) platforms use the internet to bypass traditional distribution streams. They are not required to obtain any government licence or get their content approved from a govt. censor body like CBFC which issues certificates to films.

Cheap internet and smart phones has made such content easily available. But since this platform is unregulated it is often filled with content that promotes sex, violence, nudity, vulgarity, abuse and crime using creativity as a smokescreen.

Mouthing cuss words has been made “cool” by OTT platforms as has objectification of women, violence and vulgarity. Mirzapur 2 itself is said to contain scenes where a daughter-in-law indulges in sex with her-father-in-law breaking all rules of morality.

Of course, all such degeneracy is filmed using Hindu characters to further deracinate Hindu youth and fill them with self-disgust. Whereas the actual prevalence of social practises like Nikah Halala amongst the ‘minorities’ are carefully avoided.

Makers of movies and web series believe that such content “sells” and therefore ensure that their plot and characterizations revolves around an overdose of sex, vulgarity, cuss language and violence. This is probably one reason why movies such as Kabir Singh with a liberal dose of aggressive behavior and substance abuse is passed off as “normal behavior”.

OTT platforms have ensured that several Kabir Singhs with a higher degree of violence and goriness reaches the audience without the censor whip, encouraging more Tauseefs to murder Nikitas if a girl refuses to marry them. Remember the TikTok videos showing ‘star’ Faizal Siddiqui mimicking an acid attack to punish an unfaithful partner or the ones showing Hindu girls being rejected and sad, until they show up in a hijab doing adab at which point they start smiling and feel loved? Its all part of the same spectrum of ‘edgy, bold entertainment.’

OTT platforms need to be reined in and there is an urgent need to ensure a higher degree of responsibility both from the platforms and movie/web series makers.

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