Pained by The Love Guru, Hindus ask Viacom for website posting

MUMBAI: Hindus have urged the Viacom and its brand Paramount Pictures to post a study guide about Hinduism and guru tradition on their websites and place it in movie theaters worldwide to undo the damage done by their upcoming Hollywood movie The Love Guru.

Advancing the movement launched by acclaimed Hindu leader Rajan Zed; Bhavna Shinde— representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Society for Scientific Spirituality, in a communiqué to Paramount Pictures— mentioned the protests spearheaded by Zed and supported by the Hindu and spiritual community worldwide, and added, "…We also feel that the parody on Gurus will contribute to the misunderstanding about the sacred concept of the ‘Guru’…"

Shinde urged Viacom and Paramount to immediately issue a study guide about Hinduism and the sacred tradition/role of the ‘Guru’ confirming to Hindu scriptures, post it on the official websites of Viacom and Paramount and The Love Guru, and make it available free of cost in printed form at the movie theaters worldwide.

She further said, "This guide should also offer the viewers a framework in which to see the film, so that the viewers do not carry any misconceptions about Hinduism and that the characters portrayed in this movie are in no way depicting authentic Gurus from the Hindu and spiritual tradition."

On the other hand, Hindu groups have recently been approaching film distributors associations, exhibitors groups, regulatory bodies, government ministries, theater owners, etc., in various parts of the world urging them not to distribute/screen The Love Guru till its presenter Paramount Pictures makes necessary changes to it "so that it will not hurt the feelings of the worldwide spiritual and Hindu community."

National Association of Theatre Owners vice president G. Kendrick replying to a request sent by Hindu groups, 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’. 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…"

British Film Institute (BFI) press officer Ilona Cheshire wrote in her reply, "Please rest assured that the BFI will not be screening this title nor will be involved with a possible release of it."