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‘No actor can play Muhammad’ — Minister Deshmukh cites main complaint against film on Prophet

After a complaint by Raza Academy, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has asked central govt to ban digital broadcast of Iranian film 'Muhammad: The Messenger of God'.

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New Delhi: Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has written to Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, asking for a ban on digital release of the 2015 Iranian movie, Muhammad: The Messenger of God, in India on 21 July.

Deshmukh’s letter, dated 15 July (Wednesday), was sent following a complaint by Mumbai-based organisation Raza Academy that the film may hurt sentiments of a particular community.

Speaking to ThePrint Thursday, Deshmukh said the main reason behind the complaint was the fact that no actor can play the role of Prophet Muhammad.

“Raza Academy, some senior Muslim politicians in Mumbai and a few maulanas asked to stop the release of this film as they feared it could lead to religious tensions. But their main objection was that no actor can perform the role of the Prophet,” he said.

Saeed Noori, president of Raza Academy, has been quoted as saying, “It is an Iranian film and is against the teachings of our religion. Projection of Prophet is not allowed in Muslim religion. It could lead to the religious tension.”

ThePrint had called and emailed Raza Academy but there has been no response till the time the report was sent for publication.

The film is scheduled to release on online platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, among others.

Also read: HBO pulls ‘racist’ Gone with the Wind. Many Bollywood films haven’t aged well either

‘Completely blasphemous’ movie

On 1 July, Raza Academy, a Sunni Barelvi organisation, had written to Deshmukh saying the film was “completely blasphemous”.

“Since the news of its release has been published there has been an uproar in the community and we have been receiving hundred of calls to get the film banned as it is completely blasphemous,” its letter read.

Following this complaint, Deshmukh had written to the central government and asked for a ban on the movie.

Deshmukh’s letter says, “The movie, if released on scheduled date, will be considered an attempt to blasphemy by a particular community and can potentially disturb religious sentiments. The film is likely to create religious tension leading to law and order problems in the country.”

In a separate letter, the Maharashtra cyber department has also asked the senior director of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to stop the film’s release.

Also read: Lawyers weren’t amused by Hasmukh Vir Das on Netflix. But Delhi HC had the sense of humour


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  1. I have seen the movie with my whole family. It is a very nice movie indeed. I think the Members of Raza Academy didn’t see the movie at all. I think every one should see the movie instead of banning it.

  2. I’ve already seen this beautiful movie, and no where do they show the character of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), it’s always in 3rd person view… That said, this is a misunderstanding by the mullah’s of India or simply politics doing it’s best to turn us away from some new mess in the background!

  3. Mohammed was a fictitious comic book character is proven by forensic history. Sit back and enjoy the film on the greatest imagination of our times!

    • Scientist has also said there is no religion thats is truely true! And its lal a big band theory. U must dump God’s then and just sit back and enjoy.

  4. What is wrong ? Prophet Mohammed is one of the few persons whose life was systemtically recorded every day by his companions . All facets of his life are readily available . He got his revelation in a span of twenty three years. His authentic sayings are on record. Hence if the film portrays the life of the prophet correctly and honestly there is no valid reason to find fault with it .

  5. I think this movie is has been misunderstood by it’s trailer same like what happened with Messiah web series, Padmavaat, etc one can only find the truth after watching it.
    The old man shown in the trailer(which you can see on YouTube) is not Prophet Muhammad (do not misunderstand it). Also the film showcases only about childhood of Prophet Muhammad and praise him nothing else.
    The director hasn’t shown the actor’s(child) face nor the actor utters a word who played as Prophet Muhammad (I think it was made like that to respect the religious Sentiments).
    Yes mother of Prophet Muhammad is shown and also Foster mother is shown but the film would have been incomplete if they were not shown so as to show how many hardship they went through because of others. But the movie didn’t show Prophet Muhammad father as mentioned in the letter.
    So by this comment you can understand what is there, what is the movie about, and which are characters shown or not and one can decide accordingly whether to release or not after watching this movie not just the trailer.
    Also A.R Rahman has given music to the movie.

  6. Peaceful people seem to be announcing disturbance in advance. Religious disturbance? What kind of? Peace loving community needs one or the other reason to do a communal show off. Be it CAA, NRC or any other topic.

    Luckily the movie origin is Iran. It will be interesting to know whom these people are going to blame here.

    Let us see how “The print” handles it. When it comes to sentiments of any other community, secularism, freedom of expression etc lessons are taught.

  7. These Raza academy lack sense, they also don’t spread message and also don’t let others to do so..Raza academy complaint should be thrown in dustbin and this film should be promoted

  8. Sir,
    Iran is a better muslim country comparing to other Muslims countries, The amount of information Iran has got in Islam’s history, culture, Islamic practices, Islamic law etc has been due to it’s closeness with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH and his holy ahlul baith, I feel these people of Reza academy are fearful of Iran’s knowledge etc and the person who has made this movie would have gone through extensively the history of Islam and life of prophet therefore I feel there is nothing wrong in screening this movie.

  9. Waiting for the print to write a column on the ‘silly’ demands of ban…like it did regarding the lawyers petition against Vir Das’ show…
    Kyu print walo…’secularism’ aur freedom of speech ko balance kar paoge??

  10. Iranian film? Banned in Iran or any other Islamist country? Are there any religious problem in any Islamist country?

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