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‘#Boycott Netflix’ trends as Aamir Khan’s son makes his debut in ‘Maharaj’

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A section of social media users have called for a ban on the period drama Maharaj, which marks the debut of Bollywood star Aamir Khan’s son Junaid Khan, a day before its premiere on Netflix.

Hashtags like ‘Boycott Netflix’, ‘Ban Maharaj Film’ and ‘Aamir Khan’ started trending on X on Thursday morning and well into the afternoon ahead of the film’s premiere on June 14.

According to the makers, Maharaj is set in pre-independent India and based on the Maharaj Libel Case of 1862, ignited by “allegations of misconduct by a prominent figure”.

 

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Directed by Siddharth P Malhotra and produced by Aditya Chopra under YRF Entertainment, the movie also stars Jaideep Ahlawat.

In an unusual move, the movie is releasing on the streamer without any promotions. No teaser or trailers have been put out by the makers for the film, barring a poster featuring Jaideep and Junaid.

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They are standing side by side with Ahlawat’s character sporting a ’tilak’ on his forehead while Junaid’s character, reportedly a journalist, is dressed in a waistcoat.

VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi was one of the many X users who called for a ban on Maharaj.

“Won’t tolerate the disrespect of Sanatan Dharma (Sanatan Dharma ka apmaan sehen nahin karenge). Ban Maharaj Film. #BoycottNetflix,” Prachi wrote on the microblogging site.

According to a press release issued by Netflix last month, Maharaj follows Karsandas Mulji, a journalist and social reformer, who was a pioneering advocate for women’s rights and social reform.

A student at Elphinstone College in Mumbai and a protege of the scholar-leader Dadabhai Naoroji, Mulji wrote on widow remarriage, stood up for the oppressed, and sowed the seeds of reform in society.

“It all came to a head in the Maharaj Libel Case of 1862, which was ignited by allegations of misconduct by a prominent figure, the case garnered widespread attention and scrutiny, setting the stage for what many consider to be one of the most significant legal battles of all time,” the streamer said.

Until when “Hindu saints” will continue to be insulted in films, asked another X user.

Another alleged that Aamir was launching his son in a “Hindumisic movie creating a false image of Sadhus and the Vallabh Sampradaya, by quoting an incident during the British regime (sic)”.

Such content could alienate the Hindu youth from Sanatan Dharma, he said using ‘#BoycottNetflix’ and asked people to demand a ban on “Maharaj”.

One of the X users said there were double standards when it comes to movies on Hinduism and Islam.

“Since the film is ‘Maharaj’… it’s on your gods and goddesses and religion, you are calling for a boycott. When it’s about the other community, there is an attempt to sell as much hate as possible through films,” the user said, referring to movies such as “72 Hoorain” and “Hamare Barah”.

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the June 14 release of Annu Kapoor’s movie Hamare Baarah after taking note of allegations that the film is derogatory to the Islamic faith and married Muslim women. The film also underwent a title change (earlier called Hum Do Humare Baraah) as per a directive by the Central Board of Film Certification.

The boycott calls for Maharaj appear to be a recap of what happened with Aamir’s film “Laal Singh Chaddha”.

Many posts calling for a boycott of the 2022 movie recalled an earlier controversy in 2015 when Aamir had said he was alarmed by a number of incidents of growing “intolerance” in India and that his then wife Kiran Rao had suggested they should probably leave the country.

Maharaj also stars Shalini Pandey with Sharvari in a special appearance. The film is part of the multi-year creative partnership between Netflix and Yash Raj Films’ digital arm YRF Entertainment.

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