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June 9, 2024

Disturbed by trivialisation of Holocaust in ‘Bawaal’: Israeli embassy

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Israel Ambassador to India Naor Gilon has voiced concern over the “trivialisation” of Holocaust in Hindi movie ‘Bawaal‘ released on Prime Video, saying it had “poor choice of terminology and symbolism”. The Varun Dhawan-starrer has stirred up a controversy for using the Holocaust to tell a story of marital discord as earlier in the week a prominent Jewish group slammed the movie and called for its removal from the OTT platform.

The Israeli embassy in India on Friday issued a statement, saying it was “disturbed by the trivialisation of the significance of the Holocaust” in the movie, directed by Nitesh Tiwari of ‘Dangal’ fame.
“I did not and will not watch the film ‘Bawaal’ but from what I have read, there was a poor choice of terminology and symbolism. Trivialisation of the Holocaust should disturb all,” Gilon wrote on Twitter.

“I urge those who don’t know enough about the horrors of the Holocaust to educate themselves about it,” he added.
‘Bawaal’ follows a high school history teacher Ajay Dixit (Dhawan) and his wife Nisha (Jahnvi Kapoor) as they go on a Europe tour where they visit prominent World War 2 sites, including Auschwitz and Anne Frank’s home in Amsterdam.
The film, which tracks how the couple resolve their differences, goes into graphic recall of the Holocaust in several scenes. It was released on Prime Video on July 21.
Noting that there was a “poor choice” in the utilisation of some terminology in the movie, the Israeli embassy said though “we assume no malice was intended, we urge everyone who may not be fully aware of the horrors of the Holocaust to educate themselves about it.”
“Our embassy is constantly working to propagate educational materials on this crucial subject, and we are open to engaging in conversations with all individuals to foster a better understanding of the universal lessons derived from the Holocaust,” the Israeli embassy said.
On Tuesday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, released a statement, criticising the film for “outlandish abuse of the Nazi Holocaust as a plot device”.
The film features “scenes in which the protagonists enter a gas chamber in Auschwitz and are suffocated while wearing striped clothing”, the organisation said.
“Hitler is used as a metaphor in the movie for human greed, with the main protagonist, saying to his wife: ‘We’re all a little like Hitler, aren’t we’?”
“Auschwitz is not a metaphor. It is a quintessential example of man’s capacity for evil,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action.
“By having the protagonist in this movie declare that ‘Every relationship goes through their Auschwitz’, Nitesh Tiwari, trivialises and demeans the memory of 6 million murdered Jews and millions of others who suffered at the hands of Hitler’s genocidal regime,” Cooper said.
PTI reached out to Prime Video and Tiwari for comment but they did not respond.



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