Maharaj True Story: Why Aamir Khan's son Junaid's debut movie on Netflix is facing the ire of Bajrang Dal?

Netflix and Yash Raj Films' combined movie project titled Maharaj has started to face boycott calls and even threats by an outlet of Vishwa Hindu Parishad- Bajrang Dal.

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Bollywood star Aamir Khan's son Junaid Khan's debut movie has become a center of controversy even before its release. Slated to be released on June 14, Netflix and Yash Raj Films' combined movie project titled Maharaj has started to face boycott calls and even threats by an outlet of Vishwa Hindu Parishad- Bajrang Dal. Amid the boycott calls, the makers have not released Maharaj's trailer even though the countdown for its release has started. Directed by Siddharth P Malhotra, Maharaj features actors like Jaideep Ahlawat, Junaid Khan, Shalini Pandey, and Sharvari (in a special appearance). As per the makers, Netflix's movie Maharaj is based on the true events of the infamous Maharaj Libel Case of 1862 in which Junaid Khan is playing the character of journalist Karsandas Mulji. Now, the question arises as to why Bajrang Dal is objecting to Maharaj's OTT release.

Why Junaid Khan's movie Maharaj is facing controversy?

Maharaj’s official synopsis reads, "Based on a real-life historic court case, a bold journalist questions a powerful spiritual leader’s extreme control over his followers." As per the movie’s official press statement, the Maharaj Libel Case of 1862 is reflected in the film. It was fought in the Supreme Court of Bombay between a prominent spiritual leader and Karsandas Mulji, a journalist and social reformer.

Bajrang Dal's letter points out Maharaj's official poster in which the makers have shown a Hindu saint in a negative role. Bajrang Dal's letter also states that the film features inappropriate commentary on Shri Krishna. Bajrang Dal is afraid that Maharaj will show the Hindu religion in a poor light.

Gautam Ravriya, representative of the Hindu outfit was quoted by a portal saying, "Our concern is that the movie is based on 150-years ago court judgement, which is against one religion. That time was British government. The government is already against Hindus and our religion. That time they managed the court and made the judgement in favour [of] that kind of order. In movie, they are trying to show that our god Krishna is doing Leela with gopi."

Ravriya also objected to possible scenes of a sexual nature involving a Hindu holy man. Ravriya also alleged some scenes in Maharaj involve him giving prasad to his bhakt after spitting in it. Ravriya stated that the man who had issued the past case later converted to Christianity. 

What was the Maharaj Libel Case of 1862?

Maharaj Libel Case of 1862 was among the most high-profile cases of pre-independent India. The case was against Nanabhai Rustomji Ranina and Karsandas Mulji. It was alleged that & their public accusation was that the religious leaders of Pushtimarg had sexual liaisons with women devotees, & was defamatory for the petitioner. Notably, the case commenced on 25 January 1862 and ended on 4 March 1862. Thirty-one witnesses were examined for the plaintiff and thirty-three for the defendant. The judgment was given on 22 April 1862 in favour of the defendant, Karsandas Mulji. The plaintiff was asked to pay Rs. 11,500 to Karsandas, who had to bear a cost of Rs 13,000. 

Notably, after the case, Karsandas Mulji was called India's Martin Luther King by the Western media.