A common friend of ours from Bombay in India responded to Ashoks critique
I have requested the SAJA listserve to post the following response from me
"I have read with great interest the 'critique' that Ashok Row Kavi
offers to this public list. I have known Ashok for all my adult life.
Infact he was instrumental in my coming out as a gay man in India, as
he has been for many others. And yes, I have stated that publicly for
years, as my own ay of acknowledging the regard I hold him in. For
some of us in India he is now an 'elder statesman' in our lives ; )
I have the deepest respect and fondness for Ashok and I think he knows
that. Infact I personally requested him to come and see the film in
Delhi and he honoured me by coming.
I only wish that Ashok and I had the opportunity to discuss this in
person while I was travelling with the film there. But given that I
have been on a whirlwind tour of 15 nations with this film, I never
called him back as I had promised him at the Delhi screening.
I do not agree with Ashok's critique as I feel he really is talking
about a film that is very different and perhaps a film he wishes
should be made. And that is legitimate. It is just not this film. The
Hindu matrix cannot be used in this film easily for one very obvious
reason-the film travels the Islamic 'universe'. A careful second look
reveals layers of complexity. However it is not my job to critique
this work. A point by point 'defense' would be possible only if I had
enough time, which right now, is a luxury.
The filmmakers agenda and prerogative for this particular work-'A
Jihad for Love' is very clear and I am always very excited to engage
with responses as I have done around the world already.
I have therefore chosen to publish Ashok's comments on my blog at
www.ajihadforlove.blogspot.com and open up his critique for discussion
with others who may agree or disagree with him.
I am also choosing not to engage with Ashok's version of our
'personal' history. Because that is exactly what it should be:
But Dear Ashok: When we meet or talk again I hope we realise that we
do not live on 'different planets' afterall ; )
In the meantime please do come and support this amazing film that has
taken six years to make at the IFC beginning next Wednesday, the 21st.
There is nothing better than forming an opinion of a work after you
have seen it, as Ashok has done as well. And read more at www.ajihadforlove.blogspot.com"