The Right and Wrong numbers in Amir Khan’s PK

published on January 1, 2015

Watched Amir Khan’s PK, the Hindi movie that recently has been released. Being an atheist I really did like the character portrayed by Amir Khan, of someone being an alien to the idea of God.
It’s uncommon not to be introduced to God the moment a kid starts understanding the aspects of life. So the movie’s plot and treatment is 100% fresh and new. I watched the movie with a fresh mind, for its idea and I am happy about that. I can happily forget the movie’s politics enmeshed with it, can I?  No it is not simple as it is thought to be.
There is something in the movie which should be observed and discussed. The character PK is in search of god. He tries every possible way to seek god. Other than one or two shots in a Church and a Mosque, the movie focuses on Hindu temples and customs. I think this is perfectly natural- in India it must be Hinduism.
When it comes to controversies, I don’t think scenes like the one where PK chases a man dressed like Lord Shiva or criticising a ‘God Man’ would hurt any religious sentiment. Hinduism is not beyond criticism. But there are other things in the movie hidden, not easily noticeable. I would like to focus on that hidden element.
PK, Amir’s character is totally naive to the ways of human life. But the movie and the character focuses only on one aspect of human life: religions and Gods. The movie mocks the ways of Hinduism especially idol worshipping and multiple deities. I thought it is perfectly normal and rational until the character reaches his conclusion about God. The movie uses “wrong number” and “right number” to distinguish the right and wrong approaches to reach out to God. He asks rational questions about idol worship, temple system and priests and figures out that these are “wrong numbers”. I guess any rational mind would ask those questions if they are not educated about the philosophy behind all those. I figured out the movie’s politics only when PK talks about “right number”.
What then is “Right Number”? Worshipping multiple gods or conducting idol worship or going to an Ashram are “Wrong number”. In a single word, Hindu ways are “Wrong Numbers”. Worshiping a single God- he who is the creator of this universe directly is the “Right Number”. Ok, is this “Right Number” familiar to you? If not go fetch a Bible or Quran and read about God. You would find exact definition of God in those.
Yeah! This exactly is what I found hard to digest. I don’t want to accuse Rajkumar Hirani or Amir Khan of trying to propagate the ideology of Abrahamic religions through their movie. The rational thinking which figured out Hindu customs are “Wrong numbers” did not go to the extreme end of the same rationalism- that there is no God.
Why? What made the movie makers think that not believing in God or believing in multiple Gods is not the right choice, but that of a single God is? Why direct worshiping a creator God is the “Right number” and idol worship, temples, Ashrams are all “Right numbers”? I would love to get an answer from Rajkumar Hirani or Amir Khan, but I know I would be disappointed.
What would be the logical conclusion of the movie’s politics which seeks to define “Right and Wrong” numbers? What made the movie makers think certain religions and their God are beyond any sort of criticism and Hinduism can be criticised at any level?
As I expressed earlier, Hinduism is not beyond criticism. It has to be criticised and corrected. But PK is not a movie created with the intention of correcting Hinduism. If the movie’s rational conclusion was that “There is no God”, then I could have said, I watched an entertainer. But the movie concludes that Hinduism and its ways of worshiping God stand grossly erred and embraces the ideology of Abrahamic religions as right.
I can only say the movie is perfectly anti-Hindu nothing more nothing less.

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