The ripples started with the Hindu Groups’ protest against the singing of the Hanuman Chalisa in the movie London Dreams had not even died down as the news appeared that Hollywood producer Barrie Osborne, of the Lord of the Rings and The Matrix fame, is all set to make a $150 million epic on Prophet Mohammad.
In an interview, Osborne says his aim is to “educate people about the true meaning of Islam, as a religion” and to “bridge the cultural gap”. In keeping with religious beliefs, the faces and the voices of the Prophet and his companions will not be seen or heard on screen.
Members of the Muslim community advise caution while maintaining that it’s time such creative freedom be allowed. Says social activist Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony And Democracy), “If someone is making an effort to bring forth something about Islam in a positive manner, it is commendable. There are many misgivings about Muslims worldwide, those need to be cleared.” “If a movie on Jesus Christ can be made, why not on the Prophet?” asks Sania Hashmi, a filmmaker.
“I don’t have much knowledge about Islam and would love to see a film made on the Prophet.” Syeda Semim Zahan, a lecturer at Delhi University says, “The film should be made only if it’s intellectual and well-researched. As long as they’re not deconstructing the religion and showing it in a negative light, I don’t see any harm in someone making a film on the Prophet.”