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Myth Continues to Play the Role of Cultural Dominant


Authorities in two cities in Nepal have said they will not allow Bollywood films to be shown until the "unacceptable" phrase is removed from the new Indian film Adipurush. The creators of "Adipurush" say that the film is inspired by the Hindu epic "Ramayana".

"Ramayana" tells about the victory of the Hindu god Rama over the demon lord Ravana after he kidnapped his wife Sita. In the film, the main characters are named Raghav, Lankesh and Janaki. The mayors of Kathmandu and Pokhara were outraged by the line in which Janaki is called the "daughter of India."

Hindus in Nepal - about 80% of the country's population - believe that Sita was born in Janakpur, a city about 220 km from the capital, Kathmandu. Balendra Shah, the mayor of Kathmandu, said on Facebook on Sunday that he had asked the directors of all cinemas in the city to stop showing all Bollywood films. He added that he asked the creators of Adipurush to remove the dialogue. “No Indian film will be allowed to be screened in Kathmandu Municipality until this undesirable component is removed from the film,” Shah wrote.

Indian news agency ANI reported that Dhanraj Acharya, the mayor of the city of Pokhara, also asked cinemas to stop showing the film. The film's co-writer Manoj Muntashir Shukla announced on Sunday that some of the dialogue will be rewritten and re-inserted into the film as it offended viewers, but it's not clear if he was referring to viewers from Nepal. “I wrote over 4,000 lines of dialogue for Adipurush, but the feelings of some were hurt by five lines,” the screenwriter said.

ANI also reported that the film's producer, T-Series, wrote to the mayor of Kathmandu that he had no intention of "causing any disharmony". The film Adipurush has been criticized not only in Nepal but also in India. Several Indian viewers criticized its visuals, as well as some of the dialogue, which they say greatly simplifies the characters of the epic so revered by Hindus. Calls to ban the film have been made on social media since last Friday. Many Indian opposition leaders also criticized the film, with some calling for it to be banned.

Bhupesh Baghel, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh, who represents the opposition Indian National Congress party, said the film's characters used foul language and vowed the state would look into banning it. Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said the movie about Rama, whom the faithful call "Maryada Purushottam," or the ideal man, went over the top.

The filmmakers credited several leaders of the ruling Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata for their help. This film has become one of the most expensive in the history of Indian cinema. It was released immediately in more than six thousand cinemas. It was simultaneously filmed in Hindi and Telugu and dubbed into other Indian languages. The film began to be actively discussed in the media a few months ago, in October, when its trailer was released. Viewers have ridiculed its "cartoon" CGI and visual resemblance to famous TV series such as Game of Thrones.

As experts explain, there are several interpretations of the Ramayana in India and throughout Southeast Asia, including one in praise of the demon lord Ravana, and one in which it is said that Ravana was not killed by Rama, but by his brother Lakshman. The epic Ramayana is one of the most popular texts in Indian culture. The comic book version and television adaptation of the 1980s epic was also hugely popular in the country.


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