Around October a group of right-wing extremists attacked the sets of Bollywood actor Bobby Doel starrer web series Ashram 3 for 'tarnishing the image of Hinduism', reported multiple Indian publications.

The show apparently landed in a controversy on the second day of its shooting after a few protestors from Bajrang Dal vandalised the set and threw ink on its director Prakash Jha in Bhopal.

Bajrang Dal leaders talking to Hindustan Times said they have an objection to its title - Ashram and its content which is an attempt to tarnish the image of Hinduism and Ashram system.

Replying to a question whether they have gone through the script before raising the objection, Sushil Sudele, state convener of Bajrang Dal, said, ''It is already known in public from the last two series of the same drama.

We accept that some Ashrams have been indulging in such kind of activities and their heads are in jail now. If you want to make a film, then give a particular name to that particular Ashram. You cannot tarnish the image of entire Ashram system; this is our objection.''

Bajrang Dal members said if film directors and actors will continuously make such types of films or web series, people will lose faith in the Ashram system. 

''Title Ashram indicates that it would be a religious drama, but the content is filled with vulgarity, that is why we have asked director Jha to change the name of web series and he has agreed,'' the Bajrang Dal leader said.

Other right-wing members who spoke to IANS also defended Bajrang Dal members' act of vandalising the film's set, saying they [ Bajrang Dal members] had gone to the set to meet the director Jha and to request him to change its title.

They alleged that the director's bouncers thrashed Bajrang Dal members and then ruckus was created there at the set. During the protest at the set right-wing members shouted slogans against Jha and Deol.

Call for action

The Producers Guild of India has called for strict action against the perpetrators. The statement read : '' The Producers Guild of India strongly condemns the brazen acts of violence, harassment and vandalism faced by the crew involved in the production of the series Ashram in Bhopal.

'' Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident and the Guild is alarmed to note the frequency with which both the production and exhibition sectors are severally and illegally disrupted by various elements with impunity.

Past grievances

This isn't the first time a Bollywood director has been thrashed by an angry mob. In 2017, Indian filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali was slapped and his hair pulled by protesters who accused him of showing a Rajput queen, Rani Padmini, in a negative light of his 2019 film, Padmaavat.

Members belonging to Rajput Karni Sena stormed the set of the film at Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur; manhandled the filmmaker and vandalised equipment, NDTV had reported at the time.

In March of the same year, an unidentified group torched and reduced to ashes the massive outdoor film set of Bhansali's controversial project. The riots propelled the director to change the name of the film from Padmavati to Padmaavat.

The World Students Society thanks News Desk, The Express Tribune.


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