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Thursday, December 25, 2014

“PK” the film – a Panacea to religious conflicts

 "PK" is an educational movie packed with humor and wrapped around romance. For the first time on the silver screen the average man gets to see the functionality of 'other religion' without emotional bonding. This movie will become a part of my curriculum for teaching Pluralism 101. No one should miss this film.
The film is a panacea to the problems we face today; abuse and misuse of religion.  Indeed, it reflects the values of a common man; to live and let live. 

There is a good possibility that this movie was conceived from the ideas written by me on Pluralism. It is not a vague idea, but a set of concrete ideas written up in Dallas Morning News in the last five years. 

In May 2012, I wrote, “In the pluralism classes I teach, I ask the students to see religion as Mr. Spock (foreign visitor) would have seen without religious pre-conditioning or immersion. They can see religion as catalysts in offering guidance to the ones who are frightened, apprehensive, saddened, confused, angered or hateful to the other. Religions would teach everyone to tell the truth, keep the terms of the contract with spouse, family or business and treat the other as he would want to be treated.” More about it further below.  
Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=82ZEDGPCkT8 and
www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXsa5-d3f_g

The insecure right wing religious and political leaders of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism may not like this film initially, but I hope they see its value in building cohesive societies where everyone can feel safe and live his own life as he or she deems fit.

It is one of the best films on the theme of "Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of the other."


You name the award; it will go to this film including the Oscar. Whether you are religious or not, the movie is thoroughly entertaining. Our Atheist friends would love this film as much as the theists. 

I will share the inside story of the film- soon.

Last night, Yasmeen and I came out of the movie “PK.” Thanks to my friend Dr. Shariff for insisting on seeing this movie today. Indeed he looked up the theater near-me in Louisville and texted the information. I took this seriously as he has never said anything like this about a movie.  As a bonus, he added, “go throw your Pluralism Blog and all your writings on Pluralism, because Amir Khan has done what you have been wanting to do for years.”  He was right.

Right after the interval at Tinsel Town, I spoke to the audience.

Friends, if you have heard the word Pluralism, this movie is it.  Pluralism is respecting the otherness of others, and accepting the uniqueness of each one of us. Pluralism is nothing but an attitude,  to live and let live, and it is applicable in every aspect of life including culture, society, religion, politics, gender, food, ethnicity, race and other uniqueness’s.
You are who you are, and I am who I am. As long as we don't mess with each other’s space, sustenance and nurturance, and mind our own business, we all will do well.  If we can learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. 
The idea of the film

I am writing these notes because of the identical ideas, dialogues and scenarios  that I have been writing, teaching  and talking  for the last ten years – its’ fair to say, the movie seems to have originated from these.  Indeed the source of many dialogues and ideas of the film are to be found in my articles written at Dallas Morning News as an expert on Pluralism.
The rest will appear in a newspaper soon.

COULD "PK" BE PLAGIARIZED?


I am writing these notes because of the identical ideas, dialogues and scenarios  that I have been writing, teaching  and talking  for the last ten years – its’ fair to say, the movie seems to have originated from these.  Indeed the source of many dialogues and ideas of the film are to be found in my articles written at Dallas Morning News and Pluralism sites as an expert on Pluralism.
I have been talking about the idea of seeing religion from Mr. Spock’s point of view for a very long time.
In May 2012, I wrote in Dallas Morning news, “In the pluralism classes I teach, I ask the students to see religion as Mr. Spock (foreign visitor) would have seen without religious pre-conditioning or immersion. They can see religion as catalysts in offering guidance to the ones who are frightened, apprehensive, saddened, confused, angered or hateful to the other. Religions would teach everyone to tell the truth, keep the terms of the contract with spouse, family or business and treat the other as he would want to be treated.”  – The full article contains the story of a Russian lady who talked about Religious salesman (ministers and clergy) setting up shops to sell the religion. http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/05/texas-faith-are-we-a-nation-of.htmlIn July 2013, I wrote in Dallas Morning News– “One of the joys of being a pluralist is to play Mr. Spock, and I would conclude, “Religion is a system of beliefs and rituals designed to bring tranquility to an individual and guide him to live in balance with what surrounds him/her; life and the environment.”http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2013/07/texas-faith-is-it-more-important-to-do-the-right-thing-or-to-have-the-right-beliefs.html
Elsewhere I have written, how the religious men  set up  sales booths  in Moscow in the Nineties to sell their religion to the freed up Russians, many of whom were not tempered with religious beliefs.
In March 2013, I wrote again at Dallas Morning News.  “My teen daughter blurts out, Dad, if my pastor were to tell the truth that all religions are good, then he stands to lose his congregants to other liars." Indeed, religion has become a sleazy product to a "few" ministers, who sell their religion to the gullible by denigrating other religions.
 How do you know they are sleaze balls? Here are a few pointers;  i) they make you believe all others are your enemies ii) they frighten you with the end of the world scenarios if others grow in numbers iii) they make you feel good by making someone else bad, iv) all other religions, races and ethnicities are inferior, and v) they have nothing good to say about other religions because they really don't believe in the goodness of their own. 
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/03/texas-faith-is-it-time-for-religions-to.html
In June 2013 I wrote about “Star Trek into darkness” and the picture and the notes have similarities in the film. The word fantasy is used by the film and my writings from three years ago. Star Trek is the final frontier of our fantasies equipped with the future technology. However, the emotions are same that existed in the movies made in the early 1900’s, mid-century or now. Indeed, the emotions have not changed since the Stone Age, rooting for the good guys, seeing the bad guys get beat, and justice prevailing at the end. The expressions have changed, but not the emotions. http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/06/star-trek-into-darkness-great-movie.html


INDIA TODAY REVIEW:

Jaggu (Anushka Sharma) a journalist student in Belguim falls in love with Sarfaraz (Sushant Singh) from Pakistan. Her family back in New Delhi believes in a Hindu Godman who predicts that Sarfaraz will dump her which leads to some confusion and in no time a heartbroken Jaggu heads back home.

An alien has landed somewhere in Rajasthan and his locket which is his only way to return is stolen by a local. He has never seen humans in clothes and then starts the joyride as one by one the alien questions every manmade belief just like a child. After looking for his locket he is finally told that only God can help him whatever the problem may be.

His dressing and behaviour is weird so the name given to him is PK. He soon bumps into Jaggu on a Delhi metro while he is distributing pamphlets which say if anyone finds God they should contact PK. Jaggu who now works as a journalist in a news channels finds PK fascinating and follows him till she gets his story out. Initially hesitant Jaggu eventually decides to help PK. His locket is with a popular Godman and it's not going to be easy to get it back.

Aamir Khan this time in the title role is simply brilliant! From his physique to the language the actor has left no stone unturned to put in his best for this role. His expressions do most of the talking! I doubt any other star could have delivered the kind of performance Aamir does. Anushka Sharma has a fairly important role. She looks gorgeous and puts in sincere efforts to entertain. Sanjay Dutt who we see in parts is fabulous.

At a running time of almost three hours PK entertains you every minute and brings in surprises one after the other.

PK is an absolute must watch film and watch it before your friends tell you all the surprise elements in detail.

More at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pk-review-starring-aamir-khan-anushka-sharma-sanjay-dutt/1/407753.html

SACHIN TENDULKAR AND LK ADVANI ENDORSE THE MOVIE

Its a big surprise for me to read LK Advani's comments, I guess the graceful fall from politics has made him pluralistic - otherwise he was a bigot.

L.K. Advani who recently watched the film with the entire team has taken a huge liking to the film and feels that more and more people should watch it as it is not just entertaining but also a very important film.
In a press release shared by 'pk' team, L.K. Advani expressed, “Hearty greetings to Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra for a wonderful and courageous film that they have produced in the shape of PK. We are fortunate to have been born in a vast and variegated country like India. This however casts on all patriots a duty to ensure that nothing weakens the unity of the country- neither caste nor community nor language nor region, and certainly not religion."
He adds, "In fact I believe that religiosity is for our nation an inexhaustible source of spiritualism, and so of ethical conduct. Those who run down religion, any religion, are doing a great disservice to the country and to its unity. It is this cardinal lesson that emerges clearly out of this recently released film PK which has excellent performances by the protagonist Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Boman Irani.”

HINDUTVA BODIES SEEK TO BAN THE MOVIE

 A lawsuit has been filed claiming the movie disgraces Hindu Gods, particularly Shiva more at http://sikhsiyasat.net/2014/12/25/pk-moive-controversy-hindutva-bodies-use-legal-route-firs-registered/

AAMIR KHAN SPEAKS

 ‘PK’ has invited controversy not only before the film release but post the film’s grand opening, the film roped into controversy for hurting religious sentiments. Hindu groups boycott the film and voiced their anger against the ‘PK’ makers for allegedly hurting their religious sentiments.

Clarifying the issue, Aamir Khan said, "We respect all religions. All my Hindu friends have seen the film and they have not felt the same. Even Raju is Hindu, so is Vinod and so is Abhijat. In fact 99% of the crew was Hindu. No one would have done such a thing", he clarified
#BoycottPK is the slogan roaring on twitter by the haters, on this Aamir said, "I think Indian audience is not feeling this. For everything that anyone does, you have to realise that there would be one person who would stand up and say something negative. People criticised Satyamev Jayate also. So there's no end to that. The collections are only rising and is only indicative of the fact that the people are watching the film and they are liking the film as well. It is rising by 20-30-40% each day which does not happen if people don't like the film. If you don't like the film, the numbers drop instantly. So clearly, I think that certainly this film is taking a stance against those groups or those people who are exploiting others."
On the other hand, ‘PK’ is welcomed by the mass audience with open arm. The film is doing good business at the box-office.
Full article at Bollywood Mantra - http://www.bollywoodmantra.com/news/pk-controversy-aamir-khan-breaks-his-silence-clarifies-issue/16469/

Times of India indepth controversy - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/PK-and-its-controversies/photostory/45627229.cms


OS MODGIL
Here is another realistic description of the film by my friend OS Modgil;

Mike Ghouse...what I am about to say might offend you, but then, I am sure our friendship to be far above our personal egos. .... I think you and I have seen two different movies named PK. 

The movie PK I saw is NOT about Pluralism. As a matter of fact, its NOT even about secularism. PK movie is about the fraud in organized religion, misconceptions created by these "Managers of God" and prejudice about one's appearance and labeling them as Hindu or Muslim or whatever the relative religion they might be. Pluralism, as you describe it, is about respecting each other's religious beliefs while still maintaining your own religious identity. PK has a clear message that no one is born with a "Stamp" of religion. Therefore, God never made any religion. We the humans made and created our own God(s) in our own definition. 

That message is not Pluralism... that message is.... get rid of all religions since they do not represent God who created us. All religions serve their own "Managers" and are a form of business... After seeing PK, I did not walk out of the theater thinking, " Gosh, I should respect religions other than mine. I came out thinking, " What a load of nonsense the concept of religion is" So, I see no commonality between message in PK and your preachings of Pluralism, and hence, no chance of plagiarism. 

And no, no Atheist will like the message in PK... because the message is still in favor of God Almighty who has created all this universe and our "gola" Earth is very much present. And that 'real' God does not care if you dont praise him or worship him. That 'real' God does not care about all this ritualism that every religion has doused itself in. The 'real' God wants you to help each other, live with each other in peace, love each other and be a good human being without the "Thappa" stamp of any religion. This message and concept is far above Pluralism and/or any "Ism" 


Jo darr gaya, wo mandir gaya. 

HINDUSTAN TIMES
http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/pk-review-aamir-steals-the-show-it-s-a-winner/article1-1298241.aspx



It’s difficult to convince you of our impartiality with such a header, but this is where our job begins. In my defense, I begin by telling you that PK is the most ‘different’ Aamir Khan film you have ever seen. Now, let’s start cracking the code.

PK (Aamir Khan) is not his name. In fact, he has no name. His clan doesn’t believe in alienating people on their name, caste, creed, language or religion. Sounds like the preamble of our Constitution? Well, this is the essence of director Rajkumar Hirani’s PK. And it is high on emotions and full of drama.

Who is PK then? Well, he is a humanitarian, who lives in the hearts of millions. See, I am trying to be as secretive as possible about his distinctiveness. Let’s join threads from the scene all of you have seen in the promos. Of course, the transistor scene. So, here is a guy with unblinking eyes, fluttering ears and toned muscles walking towards the most treacherous of places -- in the middle of a desert. He is in Rajasthan. This man is helpless against people who have no moral qualms in making the earth a worse place than what it already is. But he is a firm believer in all things good, and therefore keeps going and soon finds himself in the middle of a megacity -- Delhi, the national capital.

The second part of his adventures begins in Delhi -- He is intrigued by the rules and ways of this big city. PK explores the big bad world with charming innocence and a lot of wit. All of a sudden, he finds himself pitted against a widely followed godman Tapasvi Jee (Saurabh Shukla), and the only person he can trust in this ‘holy’ war is Jagat Janani (Anushka Sharma), a news reporter.

Let's leave the character details here and get down to the nitty-gritties of the theme. 

First things first. What is the film about? PK is a man’s journey through the paradoxes of Indian society. He cannot understand the meaning of religion, or the rituals most people busy themselves with. He cannot differentiate between a Hindu and a Muslim. He wonders why godmen ask for money. He disapproves the absurdities that make believers against believers. Think it is too much like Oh My God? -

See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/pk-review-aamir-steals-the-show-it-s-a-winner/article1-1298241.aspx#sthash.dQRI5gcU.dpuf


SACRED - THE FILM; SEPTEMBER 2015

What is Sacred, Flag, Holy Books, Mother, Freedom of Speech?

Sacred Film is about a successful real life event set in Mulberry, Florida coupled with a compelling romantic story built around the Quran burning incident. It is filled with human aspirations, fears, suspense and actions of a typical Hollywood Film.

The film skillfully manages conflicting issues of freedom of speech v what is sacred; safety of Americans v violent reactions; and radicalism v. pluralism. It is an embodiment of conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance based on teachings of Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad. It is a model for building cohesive societies.  Indeed, the concept is encouraged by major institutions.

Through “Sacred”, the world will witness positive changes taking shape; it encourages what Muslims ought to be – the Amins, and how they will be perceived by the society at large. What is good for Muslims has got to be good for the world and vice-versa to restore sustainable harmony.

Sacred is an exemplary story of ordinary Muslim Americans working with fellow Americans of different faiths in forging a new paradigm; a cohesive America where no American has to live in tension, apprehension or fear of the other.

Shooting will begin in March for a September 11 release.  I will be happy to give a presentation to your group.


Thank you
mike
Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
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Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are atwww.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

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