‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ is one of the most awaited movies of 2016, from the ‘X-Men’ film series. The official trailer released recently reveals that Apocalypse, the immortal and invincible, wakes up after thousands of years to be disillusioned by the world as he sees it. He decides to cleanse mankind and create a new world which will be ruled over by him. This mass-destruction of mankind, however, has to be stopped by a group of young X-Men led by Raven and Professor X.
Just another movie-plot and what am I doing writing about it in my column?
Well, seems like the elimination of mankind by Apocalypse has not been taken very kindly by some men! The trailer has him say, “I have been called many things over many lifetimes – Ra, Krishna, Yahweh.” Ra was the chief of the Egyptian Pantheon during the ancient times and Yahweh, was the chief god of the ancient Israel. While the followers of Ra who do not exist, and Yahweh, have not raised any objection, the same is not true for Krishna, who is the main god for many across the world, especially with certain sections of the Indian society. The objection is – why should the evil in Apocalypse be compared with the Hindu god, Krishna, who stood for all that was right and just?
Many references to Apocalypse in the movie seem to have parallels with Krishna. Apocalypse is depicted in blue and he can assume a massive size, whereby the mortals look small in front of him, are just couple of the physical similarities. Apocalypse, like Krishna intends to usher in a new world era, as the present ones need to be destroyed.
Is this intentional or a matter of misguided inspiration? Misguided, because the objectives of both Apocalypse and Krishna might seem similar, the intentions are far too different. The comparison of Apocalypse as the ungodly personification of evil with a Krishna is a bit of an oddity here. It seems, director Bryan Singer, was trying to hit out at the concept of god and devotion. In an interview he says “What is a God? Why would someone create and rule over a race simply to be worshipped?…….that’s the big giant ego of the old God.”
So is Singer trying to question the concept of god, since he finds the entire concept of devotion as an act of forced supremacy by the creator on the created?
A demand to edit the references to Krishna from the trailer and subsequently from the movie has been made by a certain group, but the question is, how critical is the need to do so?
The West has always been obsessed with the Hindu pantheon, especially with Ganesha, Shiva and Kali to name just a few, and many a times for all the wrong reasons. Depictions of deities on footwear and undergarments have been witnessed earlier as nothing but a perverse desire to seek attention. This is not the first time that someone has referred to a Hindu god without a holistic understanding and a thorough knowledge of what the deity signifies, and I doubt if this will be the last time.
Mythology by and large has its own language which is allegorical in nature. It is contextual and taking aspects out of context just leads to disastrous effects and this has happened before. Creating new mythology is understandable and I would say a primeval desire of human beings. But should that be created on the misguided misunderstanding of the old mythology? Should it be created on premises which are contrary to the established ones, just to shock and awe and for a purpose which lends more credence to commerce than substance? Or is this just another example of courting controversy to gain publicity?
Finally, to be fair to Krishna, who battled many a force since his birth and triumphed at every step, does a passing reference to him, undermine his enormous following across the world?
As Krishna in a recent teleserial was prone to say – swayam vichaar kijiye?
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