Bawaal over Bawaal? Israeli embassy condemns ‘trivialization’ of Holocaust | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Bawaal over Bawaal? Israeli embassy condemns ‘trivialization’ of Holocaust in film

Jul 29, 2023 11:21 AM IST

Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor's Bawaal is in a soup for controversial lines about Holocaust and Hitler.

After Jewish organisation The Simon Wiesenthal Center, now Israeli embassy has called out Nitesh Tiwari's Bawaal for ‘trivialisation’ of Holocaust in his romantic drama. Bawaal follows a high school history teacher Ajay Dixit (Varun Dhawan) and his wife Nisha (Jahnvi Kapoor) as they go on a Europe tour where they visit prominent World War 2 sites, including Auschwitz and Anne Frank’s home in Amsterdam. The film includes some controversial line comparing marital discord to Auschwitz and greedy people to Hitler. It also shows Janhvi and Varun in striped pyjamas in a Nazi camp in a fantasy sequence.

Bawaal stars Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan as couple trying to find love.
Bawaal stars Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan as couple trying to find love.

What the Israeli embassy said

In a statement, the embassy said, "The Israeli embassy is disturbed by the trivialization of the significance of the Holocaust in the recent movie 'Bawaal'.

There was a poor choice in the utilization of some terminology in the movie, and though we assume no malice was intended, we urge everyone who may not be fully aware of the horrors of the Holocaust to educate themselves about it.

Our embassy is constantly working to propagate educational materials on this crucial subject, and we are open to engaging in conversations with all individuals to foster a better understanding of the universal lessons derived from the Holocaust."

Israeli ambassador to India Naor Gilon also tweeted, “I did not and will not watch the film Bawaal but from what I’ve read, there was a poor choice of terminology and symbolism. Trivialization of the Holocaust should disturb all. I urge those who don’t know enough about the horrors of the #Holocaust to educate themselves about it.”

What SWC had said

“Auschwitz is not a metaphor. It is a quintessential example of man’s capacity for evil", said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action.

"By having the protagonist in this movie declare that ‘Every relationship goes through their Auschwitz’, Nitesh Tiwari, trivialises and demeans the memory of 6 million murdered Jews and millions of others who suffered at the hands of Hitler’s genocidal regime," Cooper said.

If the filmmaker’s goal was to gain PR for the movie by reportedly filming a fantasy sequence at the Nazi death camp, he has succeeded, he added.

“Amazon Prime should stop monetising Bawaal by immediately removing this banal trivialization of the suffering and systematic murder of millions of victims of the Nazi Holocaust,” he said in the statement.

What Nitesh Tiwari said

Ahead of the film's release on Prime Video on July 21, Tiwari told PTI that he had tried to incorporate chapters from history which contribute to the arc of the film's lead characters.

"I've kept the incidents and events, which kind of play an important role in the arc of the characters and their relationships in the movie... Every incident has been carefully chosen. World War 2 is humongous, there is so much to say," the filmmaker said.


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