Amir Khan's PK Movie and its Link to the Muslim Wahabbi Versus Sufi Argument
What is PK About?
PK is Amir Khan’s 2014 Bollywood blockbuster which caused much outrage across India with calls for it to be banned. But hey, in media there is no such thing as bad publicity, right? The movie touches on the very sensitive concept of different religions prevalent in Indian society.
PK (Amir Khan) is an alien who arrives on Earth in search of life and upon arriving is quickly robbed. In the robbery PK losses his special remote and is unable to return home. The story centres on PK’s journey as an alien who knows nothing about religion, culture or society and goes in search of his remote.
What is the Plot?
Finding PK's remote in order for him to return home proves neigh on impossible; and here is the plot, every random stranger he approaches regarding the whereabouts of his remote says : ‘only God knows where your remote is’. This is a figure of speech to imply ‘I don’t know’, but to PK it is understood literally and his mentality is perhaps symbolic of the dangers of those without wisdom who translate religion literally.
What is the Message?
PK goes in search of God to ask God about the whereabouts of his remote. PK comes across many religions and strange practises but a focal topic the film focusses on is 'do we need Holy Men or Idols to find God?'
Wahhabi vs Sufi Argument
The age old Wahhabi versus Sufi argument of 100 years prior during Islam’s last reformation was 'do we need Holy Men or Idols to find God?'. The Wahhabi’s argued that to find God you don’t need Holy Men (alive or in graves), nor do you need religious relics in order to find God. Whereas the Sufi's argued that some Holy Men possessed a spiritual connection with God that ordinary men could not gain unless they went through a medium.
In the film the missing remote is symbolic of a religious relic used by a Holy-Man to entice followers. 100 years prior the Sufi’s argued that men needed to be guided and shown the remote (symbolic of a relic) to entice one towards the path of God. The Sufi intention was noble and well-intended but with religious knowledge and power came corruption as the blind were led to idolise holy-men and relics instead of God. Today, the Wahabbi's have made the religion a free-for-all for anyone to interpret, thus led to the creation of naive and immature teens believing themselves to expert theologians. Thus, two extremes.