Bollywood filmmaker Kunal Kohli has made Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra's characters in his forthcoming film "Teri Meri Kahaani" switch religious identities during the narration. He believes cinema can spread the message that Hindus and Muslims are equal.
"There are three different pairs of characters played by Shahid and Priyanka. In two of them, they play a Hindu and a Muslim character. But they swap religious identities in the two sections," said Kohli.
"While in the first story, set in 1910, Shahid plays a Muslim lover-boy named Javed and Priyanka a Hindu girl named Aradhana, in the second story that unfolds in 1960, Shahid stars as a strugging music composer named Govind and Priyanka plays a Muslim actress named Rukhsar," he added.
This is Kohli's attempt to show how the religious identity and related problems are of no consequence to him as a filmmaker.
"Why do we consider it a problem? It is not! As a thinking Indian and a responsible filmmaker, it is my job to show that the so-called differences are all a state of the mind. That's why I made the religious identity inter-changeable in my film.
"The two halves, the Hindu and the Muslim are changed in the two different segments of the film. I feel cinema needs to wean society away from prejudices. And what better example of communal amity than the movie industry," he said.
Interestingly, Kohli has named Priyanka as Radha after his daughter in the segment of his film set in 2012.