Indian right-wing extremist group Bajrang Dal attacked the set of Prakash Jha’s web series Ashram 3 starring Bobby Deol. According to reports, they roughed up the filmmaker and threw ink on him during the shooting in Bhopal. Attackers claimed that the web series ‘Ashram’ was an assault on Hindu sentiments and they will not allow its filming unless the title was changed.
They said that the title and the film’s content were an attempt to ridicule the image of Hinduism and its Ashram system. State convener of Bajrang Dal, Sushil Sudele said that such activities depicted in the series may have happened in some Ashrams but the series tarnished the name of the entire Ashram system.
Attackers Say Bobby Deol Should Learn Something from His Big Brother
Videos from the incident went viral on social media showing the mob chasing down and beating crew members. Reportedly, they ransacked the set and threw ink on the equipment as well. They also threw stones at crew members’ vehicles parked on the location.
They kept shouting slogans like “Prakash Jha Murdabad” and “Bobby Deol Murdabad”. Sudele also said that they were looking for Bobby who should learn something from his brother Sunny Deol, who made so many patriotic movies. About Ashram 3, Sudele questioned that the director showed a guru abusing women but did he have guts to make something similar on a church or a madrasa.
Call for Action Against Extremist Outfits
The Producers’ Guild of India stated to condemn the incident and demand strict action. They wrote that it was not an isolated incident and extremist elements have been brazenly disrupting many productions with impunity. The statement also explained that content production was a significant part of generating employment and promoting tourism so authorities can at least guarantee the safety of production units.
Despite, the vandalization and threats, the shooting continued under police protection at different locations. Local police affirmed that there will be action against those who vandalized the set and disrupted the shooting, even though Prakash Jha’s team never filed any charges. The police still claimed to identify and arrest the attackers while crew members would receive “full security”. Reportedly, 4 people associated with the case have already been arrested.
What the Series is All About?
Ashram web-series is a crime drama, that follows a police officer who investigates a religious preacher involved in conning his devotees for money. Its 2 parts, Ashram 1 and Ashram 2 were in 2020.
An Ashram is a monastery where religious leaders and their followers live. The term is often used to describe a place for a particular community. They have existed in Hindu culture for thousands of years and are devoted to practices like meditation, yoga, and religious sermons. Other’s religions including Christianity have also adopted the model of Ashram for a spiritual retreat.
Bobby Deol starrer web series showed the horrible practices happening inside in the name of spirituality, which sparked the ire of extremist groups.
Not The First Incident of its Kind
It’s not the first time an angry mob thrashed Bollywood artists for their content. Before Bobby Deol and Prakash Jha’s Ashram, Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name is Khan and Amir Khan’s PK also stirred religious extremists to cause havoc in India. Most famously in 2017, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali was slapped on the set of Padmaavat. The mob accused him of portraying Rajput Queen Rani Padmani negatively in the film. Many protests started against this film including a young person threatening to commit suicide if the film wasn’t banned.