A scene in Kaminey has led to priests at Lord Jagannath temple in Puri, Orissa, filing an FIR against filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj. In the offensive part, Shahid Kapur enters a hostel toilet, and the graffiti on its door holds out an old self-help adage that’s now the Indian euphemism for masturbation, ‘Apna Haath Jagannath’. Damodar Mahasuar, head priest of the temple, speaks out:
Q What is your problem with the scene?
A It is derogatory to Hindu culture. How can you address the Lord with ‘Apna Haath Jagannath’ and put it beside a nangee aurat on the latrine door? This has hurt us temple priests and all other Hindus.
Q Do priests at Jagannath temple discuss movies more than going about their religious duties?
A No. As priests, we don’t watch any movies or television or listen to radio.
Q Then, how did you come to know of it?
A It was shown by one of our regular devotees. It was on his mobile phone—and the priests saw it there and took note of it.
Q Do you think the Lord will be bothered?
A No. But being a Brahmin, Bharadwaj should not have hurt Hindu sentiments. Lord Jagannath is like maa-baap (parents) to Hindus. Will one parade one’s maa-baap naked on a toilet door and write ‘Apna haath Jagannath’?
Q The film is far more critical of Marathi politics than Jagannath. There has been no fire from Maharashtra, then why here?
A An individual God is greater than a region’s people.
Q But what’s shown on the toilet door is so true of India’s hostels...
A If that’s the case, it’s also true that many Indians respect religion. Why has Bharadwaj not bothered about that? The mockery is deliberate.
Q What do you want?
A We want Bharadwaj to remove the scene. I request him, ‘You are Brahmin, don’t do this.’ If he says he is guilty and removes the clip, that will do.