Mumbai: Hindu groups have contacted Central Board of Film Certification (Censor Board) and Ministry of Information & Broadcasting of India, urging them not to distribute/screen upcoming Hollywood movie The Love Guru till its presenter Paramount Pictures makes necessary changes to it.
Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Society for Scientific Spirituality said, "…stop distributing or screening the movie till Paramount has made necessary changes to the movie, so that it will not hurt the feelings of the worldwide spiritual and Hindu community."
Meanwhile, furthering the drive pioneered by acclaimed Hindu and Indo-American leader Rajan Zed, various organizations and leaders have been coming out to express concern about the possibility of The Love Guru hurting the sentiments of Hindus worldwide and urging filmmakers to be more responsible when handling faith related subjects.
Zed has been saying that from the information available about the movie, it appears to be lampooning Hinduism and Hindus and using Hindu terms frivolously.
Various Hindu, Catholic, Presbyterian, Jewish, Native American, Methodist, Buddhist, youth, film, spiritual/religious, music, yoga, civil rights, etc., leaders have already issued statements in support of this cause espoused by Zed.
Hindu groups have also been approaching film distributors associations, exhibitors groups, regulatory bodies, government ministries, theater owners, etc., in various parts of the world urging them not to screen The Love Guru until the changes are made.
National Association of Theatre Owners vice president G. Kendrick Macdowell wrote, "I am sympathetic to your concern as I have been to the ashrams in India and know a little bit about the guru-disciple relationship. I have not seen the trailer or the movie, but I can guess that it satirizes ‘gurus on the make’. I doubt I would find it funny. Nevertheless, we are not in a position to take action you recommend …we are a trade association, and we cannot interfere with the decisions of our members regarding what movies or trailers to play…"
A prominent Jewish Rabbi Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada (USA) has called for boycott of The Love Guru because it "…lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy…" and asking "who laughs at religious practices".
Paramount Pictures, through its senior vice president national publicity, Jessica Rovins, has earlier stated, "It is our full intention to screen the film for Rajan Zed and other Hindu leaders in the U.S. once we have a finished print."
It may be recalled here that advance screenings of Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ were held for clergy and others.
The Love Guru; a comedy starring Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Ben Kingsley; and directed by Marco Schnabel; is set to release on 20 June. Myers is an American raised in an ashram in India, who moves back to US as Guru Pitka to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality.
According to Supreme Court of India, "Film censorship becomes necessary because a film motivates thought and action and assures a high degree of attention and retention as compared to the printed word…"
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting of India Government is responsible for formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws, international cooperation, import/export, etc., in the field of films. It claims to strike "a careful balance between public interest and commercial needs" in its delivery of services of films.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion followers.
Moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.