Bollywood film sparks outrage for 'normalizing' Holocaust

Jewish communities incensed with Amazon Prime film Bawaal for using the Holocaust as a metaphor for relationship issues, with scenes set in gas chambers and analogy drawn between extermination camps and romantic relationships

An Indian Bollywood love movie has stirred controversy in Israel and across the Jewish Diaspora for what some deemed its insensitive comparison of romantic relationships to the horrors of Auschwitz during World War II.
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The movie Bawaal (Rustle in English), directed by Nitesh Tiwari, portrays a love story between a teacher and a woman with epilepsy who meet through matchmaking. Throughout the film, they travel to various European locations related to the war, including the Auschwitz extermination camp, and their love develops over the course of the journey. The film employs metaphors that draw connections between romantic relationships and the Holocaust.
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מתוך Bawaal
מתוך Bawaal
Watching a picture of Adolf Hitler, Bawaal
(Photo: Amazon Prime)
The film contains a scene where the characters visit a gas chamber, and one of them makes a controversial remark, saying, "We're all a little Hitlers, aren't we?", sparking strong criticism, with Jewish groups like the Shimon Wiesenthal Center calling for its removal from Amazon Prime servers.
Rabbi Avraham Koper expressed concerns about the movie's portrayal of Auschwitz, stating, "Auschwitz is not a metaphor, it is a clear example of the evil that man is capable of. This is about normalizing the suffering and the systematic murder of millions of victims of the Nazi Holocaust."
The Israeli Embassy in India also issued a response with Ambassador Naor Gilon stating, "I have not watched the movie, nor do I intend to, but from what I have read, it is about bad decisions in the use of terminology and symbols."
He went on to say, "Normalizing the subject of the Holocaust should disturb everyone. I call on those who do not know enough about the horrors of the Holocaust to educate themselves."
Meanwhile, summer blockbuster drama Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, sparked controversy on social media due to the use of a passage from the Hindu scriptures during a sex scene. In the scene, Julius Robert Oppenheimer (played by Cillian Murphy), widely credited as the father of the atom bomb, and his lover (played by Florence Pugh) engage in a sexual act, and she asks him to read a passage from the Bhagavad Gita. The passage, "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds," is a sacred verse in Hindu culture. The film is currently being screened in cinemas worldwide.
"She is holding Bhagwad Geeta in one hand, and the other hands seems to be adjusting the position of their reproductive organs," wrote Indian journalist Uday Mahurkar, founder of the Save Culture Save India Foundation, in a letter shared on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. "The Bhagwad Geeta is one of the most revered scriptures of Hinduism... We do not know the motivation and logic behind this unnecessary scene on life of a scientist. But this is a direct assault on religious beliefs of a billion tolerant Hindus, rather it amounts to waging a war on the Hindu community and almost appears to be part of a larger conspiracy by anti-Hindu forces."
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