Pogaru, a recently released Kannada movie ran into a controversy as it insulted the Brahmin community. Written and directed by Nanda Kishore, and produced by B. K. Gangadhar, Dhruva Sarja and Rashmika Mandanna acted in the lead characters.
Reportedly, Pogaru is the first big budget Kannada film to release post the Covid-19 induced lockdown. The movie revolves around the life journey of a rogue. However, it created a massive controversy in Karnataka after Brahmin organisations vehemently protested against the pejorative depiction of the Brahmin community.
The social media users started voicing against the derogatory scenes in the movie. They claimed that the Brahmin community is shown in a poor light by the filmmakers.
In the movie, Rashmika Mandanna, the lead actress comes from a Brahmin family. The scenes includes, where the rogue hero enters into the heroine’s house, abuses her relatives by passing the derogating comments and fights with them. In one of the scenes, the protagonist of the movie is seen keeping his foot on a priest’s shoulder. In another scene, the protagonist of the film hangs a Brahmin upside down from a crane, assaults him and abuses him. In one other scene, the protagonist aggressively confronts a Brahmin who is carrying water for puja. The hero uses that water to wash his face. Furthermore, in other scene, he makes insensitive remarks about the vegetarian diet consumed by Brahmins. However the abuse also extended to the Hindu deities and the protagonist mocks the tradition of Hindus having darshan of deities in temples.
Chiru Bhat, a prominent Kannada Journalist and a Movie Critic released a video in Youtube where he strongly objected the Brahmin abusing scenes in the movie. This video became viral and invited anger against the filmmakers. Not just Brahmins, but people from many community started voicing against the Brahmin insulting scenes in the movie.
Following this video, the protest gained strength in Karnataka which left the fans of Dhruva Sarja in anger. Fans of Dhruva Sarja abused and issued death threats to Chiru Bhat. Supposedly, the so-called fans told Chiru Bhat that they will come to his place and “do what needs to be done”.
Chiru Bhat also released the Youtube link of a video where Dhruva Sarja’s fans threatened him to death.
As controversy heated up in the state, members from the District Brahmins Association (DBA) of Mysore staged a protest and demanded to remove the controversial scenes from the movie. Reportedly, the protesters gathered near the Mysuru Deputy Commissioner office and shouted the slogans against the Film Censor Board and demanded a criminal case against the filmmakers. DBA President D T Prakash told media that, “Brahmins have been portrayed in a disrespectful way. They think that we do not have unity and we accept everything. We believe in ‘Live and Let Live’ policy and treating us this way is not acceptable. The entire movie should be banned till the controversial scenes are removed”.
Similar kind of protests erupted in various parts of the state. Reportedly, Sri Viswaprasanna Theertha Swamiji, the peetadhipathi of the Pejavara Mutt had also spoken to the authorities of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, expressing his disapproval and called for the removal of the controversial scenes from the film. Pejavara Mutt Swamiji stressed that, to achieve a peaceful society no one should mock any community.
“Insulting any community is not acceptable. The film makers should come out of the thought that they will entertain this kind of community mocking. The makers should remove the scenes immediately in which Brahmins are shown in poor light,” the Pejawar Swamiji said.
Following this, Nanda Kishore, the director of the movie, apologized to the Brahmin community. He said that the scenes were not intentional. “We did not intend to hurt anyone. All the controversial scenes in the movie will be removed and the viewers won’t know the difference,” he said as reported.
A meeting held between the Karnataka Brahmin Development Board and the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce. Post the meeting, the filmmakers had agreed to delete certain scenes from the movie.
Reportedly, they decided to remove 14 scenes from the Kannada movie after members from the Brahmin community raised objections. The lead actor Dhruva Sarja had put out a statement responding to the controversy and clarified that the makers never intended to hurt the feelings of any community.