As the world celebrated the festival of Eid-Ul-Fitr, marking the end of a month-long period of piety and ritual fasting, a video depicting an interfaith couple went viral on social media. The video was accused of promoting “love-jihad” in Kerala under the guise of Eid wishes. The incident highlights the ongoing debate around interfaith relationships in India and the polarising impact it has on society. The controversy was first spotted on Twitter, where users took to the platform to express their concerns about the alleged promotion of love jihad.
indusscrolls.com, headed by G Sreedathan, who is also the Associate Editor of Organiser – considered to be the mouthpiece of the RSS, shared the video on its website and on its Twitter handle. The video allegedly showed “a Muslim man erasing the bindi of a Hindu woman,” which many claimed indicated her conversion to Islam. The video was shared by many Twitter users with similar captions alleging that it glorified “love-jihad”.
A reverse image search using the key frames extracted from the viral video revealed the original video has been posted on the Instagram account thereal_vishnu. The account belongs to Vishnu K Vijayan, an actor who portrays a Muslim man in the video wearing a skull cap.
On April 22, 2023, the same video with Eid-ul-Fitr wishes was posted on his Facebook account
Newschecker contacted Vishnu K Vijayan to understand the motive behind the video. He expressed that the controversy surrounding the video was unfortunate and that it was being misinterpreted. He stated “We did not make it to promote love jihad. We did it as actors and our primary aim was to create a reel. We are co-artists working in serials. We had no intention to hurt anyone.”
Sumi Rashik, the woman seen in the video, also posted the re-enactment video on her official Instagram page. According to the caption, the video was inspired by one of the hit songs ‘Vathikkalu Vellaripravu’ from the Malayalam movie ‘Soofiyum Sujathayum,’ which stars Aditi Rao Hydari.
On examining the Instagram account of Sumi, we also found many media where she is seen with idols and of Hindu gods, and celebrating Hindu festivals. Speaking to Newschecker, Rashik said ” Apart from me no one else who was connected to the video were Muslims” (sic)
Actors Say Viral Video Based On Malayalam Romantic Film Depicting Inter-Faith Love Story
Sufiyum Sujatayum (which translates to Sufi and Sujata) is a 2020 Indian Malayalam-language romantic drama film written and directed by Naranipuzha Shanavas, and produced by Vijay Babu under his production company Friday Film House. The film stars Jayasurya, Aditi Rao Hydari, and Dev Mohan in lead roles. It was released on Amazon Prime Video on 3 July 2020.
In the film Sufiyum Sujatayum, the protagonist Sujata, a mute Kathak dancer, falls in love with her Sufi priest neighbour. However, her father arranges her marriage to a wealthy NRI from Dubai. Ten years later, she receives news of Sufi’s death, and memories of their time together resurface, causing more tension in her unhappy marriage. The film concludes with Sujata letting go of the past and starting a new chapter in her life.
Though the original song sequence in the movie is different, there are several conceptual similarities between the viral video and the song seen in the movie.
The creators of the viral video clarify that the video was made to recreate scenes from the film Sufiyum Sujatayum and its songs, and was not intended to promote “love-jihad”.
Result: Missing Context
Facebook Post by Vishnu K Vijayan on April 20,2023
Instagram post of the real_vishnu_ on April 21,2023
Instagram post of sumirashik_official_ on April 20,2023
Instagram account of sumirashik_official_
Youtube video of Prime Video India on June 24, 2020
Website of imdb.com
Conversation with Vishnu K Vijayan
Conversation with Sumi Rashik
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