HomeIndian AmericanHindu nationalist group threatens Bollywood star Akshay Kumar

Hindu nationalist group threatens Bollywood star Akshay Kumar

Enraged by the actor’s role in the new religious comedy-drama Oh My God 2, a Hindu nationalist group in Agra has announced they will give a 10 lakh rupee (about $12,000USD) reward to anyone who slaps or spits on Akshay Kumar—both of which constitute assault.

According to the Print, an Indian online newspaper, Agra’s Rashtriya Hindu Parishad Bharat announced their bounty on the actor as a part of wider threats of India-wide protests if the film is not banned.

The film revolves around the issue of sex education in India and portrays the story of a devoted follower of Lord Shiva, whose faith is tested when his son is thrown out of school. A divine intervention by the god’s messenger steers him back towards the truth and motivates him to defend his son in court—a messenger who is played by Akshay Kumar.

The Hindu nationalist organization’s president Govind Parashar announced the bounty at an event where the group also burnt effigies of Kumar and movie posters, claiming that certain scenes in the movie belittle Lord Shiva.

India’s Central Board of Film Certification eventually did approve the film, but with 25 modifications and with Kumar’s character renamed to simply a “Messenger of God” rather than an earthly incarnation of Lord Shiva as was planned. It received a A rating, which denotes a film restricted to adults, but without nudity, rather than the U/A rating they were hoping for, which are considered appropriate for children older than 12 to watch.

Some Hindu groups have demanded the Indian government go further by fully banning the film. Oh My God 2 is the sequel to the 2012 film of the same name, in which Kumar played Lord Krishna.

The Amritsar-born actor holds both Indian and Canadian citizenship, but lives and works in India.

The film has also received many positive reviews, including one from Baradwaj Rangan, one of India’s most prominent film critics. In a review posted on his personal website, he said that despite its “incendiary theme, Oh My God doesn’t have a heretical bone in its body.”

“The film’s fight isn’t with faith – merely with the ridiculous ways in which the faithful transact with their maker.”

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