Mumbai: The Bollywood film ‘Bawaal’ has found itself embroiled in controversy, facing objections from numerous Jewish organizations and drawing concern from the Embassy of Israel in India. The bone of contention revolves around the film’s portrayal of the Holocaust, which many claim to be insensitive and trivializing.
Critics argue that the systematic genocide and immense suffering of millions of people during the Holocaust have been portrayed in an overly light manner in the film. The Embassy of Israel took to Twitter to express its concerns, acknowledging that there might not have been any malicious intent behind the portrayal but asserting that the depiction failed to capture the gravity of the Holocaust appropriately.
In a tweet, the Embassy wrote, “We believe that there would be no wrong intention behind doing this, but the words have not been used properly to show the Holocaust in the film. For those who are not aware of the horrors of the Holocaust, we urge them to educate themselves about it.”
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.— Naor Gilon (@NaorGilon) July 28, 2023
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.
Naor Gillon, Israel’s Ambassador to India, also chimed in on the matter, expressing his disapproval of the film. Although he admitted to not having seen the movie himself, he stated that based on what he had read, the film seemed to use weak language in portraying the Holocaust. Gillon emphasized that any depiction of such a monumental tragedy should be deeply impactful and serve as a reminder of the horrors humanity is capable of, urging viewers who are unaware of the Holocaust’s atrocities to seek out information and knowledge about it.
The objections from the Embassy of Israel received support from some Indian political figures. BJP leader Kapil Mishra took to Twitter, calling for the filmmakers to apologize unconditionally to the Jewish people in Israel and around the world. He deemed the film insensitive and insisted that it trivialized the Holocaust to an unacceptable extent. Furthermore, he urged Prime Video, the platform hosting the film, to remove it from its library.
“Bawaal” movie makers need to offer unconditional apology to Israel and Jews around the world— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) July 28, 2023
This Movie is insensitive and attempts to trivialise the #Holocaust @PrimeVideoIN should remove it from the platform @IsraelinIndia https://t.co/qsmKHEksyN
Former BJP MP Tarun Vijay also joined the chorus of disapproval, appealing to the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take cognizance of the film. Vijay expressed solidarity with Israel, acknowledging their pain and suffering, and questioned the decision-making process of the Indian Censor Board, suggesting that such a film should not have been allowed to be screened without stricter scrutiny.
It’s a poor choice by a semi literate Bollywood joker. We fully understand @IsraelinIndia ‘s pain and share your anguish. Indian censor board consists of highly educated cultured and deeply sensitive intellectuals. Why did they allow this #Bawaal? Hope @MIB_India takes note of it— Tarun Vijay , former MP (@Tarunvijay) July 29, 2023
The film ‘Bawal’ has evidently sparked an intense debate over the responsibility of filmmakers when portraying historical tragedies, especially ones as harrowing as the Holocaust.