#BoycottToofaan trends again; film slammed for allegedly promoting 'love jihad'
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's upcoming movie starring Farhan Akhtar Toofaan is touted to be a sports flick, chronicling the life of national-level boxer Aziz Ali. Amazon Prime Video released its trailer on June 30, where Mrunal Thakur was introduced as Ali's girlfriend/wife, Dr. Pooja Shah. However, the religions of these characters have now angered netizens, who are demanding its boycott for allegedly promoting "love jihad."
Twitter users were seen sharing clips from the trailer, asking why the characters of a Muslim man and a Hindu woman were created when the story was fictional and makers had no liability to draw certain religions. Many users advised Hindu women to be aware of love jihad. Images of Akhtar taking part in anti-CAA protests were also shared; #BoycottToofaan remained a top trend.
Akhtar openly speaking out against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019 and joining anti-CAA rallies in Mumbai had evoked a similar response in January 2020. The Bhaag Milkha Bhaag actor was criticized for posting seditious tweets and not having adequate knowledge on the topic.
Haryana IT and Social Media head of Bharatiya Janata Party, Arun Yadav, was also seen actively calling for the boycott. However, the fight is nothing new. It all began on July 6 for a YouTube Channel Sabloktantra when it was banned by the platform for using "hate speech" in its review video of the Toofaan trailer. The decision, understandably, came for mentioning love jihad.
Since then, Rachit Kaushik, the founder of Sabloktantra, has gained support from several Twitter users. One netizen said, "FOE curbed by @YouTube for the truth of Love jihad by #SabLoktantra youtube channel (sic)." Meanwhile, BJP's Yadav also extended support for the "nationalist" YouTuber. Fans of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput led another faction to boycott Bollywood movies and by extension Akhtar's upcoming project, too.
To note, love jihad is the alleged practice of Muslim men targeting non-Muslim women for marriage to convert them to Islam. Similar allegations have come up against other films in the past. Romantic disaster film Kedarnath had irked priests and politicians for allegedly promoting love jihad. In this, Rajput's Muslim character ferrying Hindu pilgrims (including Sara Ali Khan's character) apparently hurt Hindu religious sentiments.