Australia-wide boycott call of The Love Guru proved effective, Hindus emphasize

MUMBAI: The Australia-wide boycott call of Hindus against Hollywood movie The Love Guru for lampooning Hinduism has been very effective, contributing to its blunt failure at the box office, Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu leader, announced.

Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism and who spearheaded the protest movement against The Love Guru starting in March, stated that although various issues contributed to its failure, but the boycott was one of the major factors. According to reports, many Hindus as well as non-Hindus have been shunning this movie in Australia, where it was released on 10 July.

The Love Guru debuted at number four at the Australia box office on its 10 July release, taking just about 1.5 million Australian dollars on its opening week. The film has taken a gross total of just about $2.2 million in Australia the three weeks since its release. Phyllida Lloyd’s comedy musical, Mama Mia! released the same weekend and has so far taken a gross total of about $18.5 million for the same time in Australia.

Rajan Zed thanked the Australian filmgoers for having a feel for the pain of Hindu brothers-sisters by rebuffing The Love Guru.

It will reportedly face boycotts in various countries where it will be released in the near future. Protests are reportedly being planned in India on its release there by various organizations including Hindu Alliance of India, Shri Ramayan Pracharini Sabha, India Heritage Panel, etc. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has launched a worldwide protest drive.

A Canadian Hindu group is also promoting the worldwide boycott. A prominent Jewish Rabbi, Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada (USA), has also called for boycott of The Love Guru because it "…lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy…"

Zed argued that this movie was pure and blatant ridiculing of Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers and a rich philosophical thought. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at.

Meanwhile, signature campaign launched by Hindu groups against The Love Guru has crossed the 6,900 mark. 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.

Zed lauded various non-Hindu groups for their support gestures. Nevada Clergy Association has been supportive to the cause and has said, "Hollywood should be more conscious while handling faith related subjects". American Society for Muslim Advancement executive director Daisy Khan commented, "I stand with many of my Hindu brothers and sisters. I will not watch this movie." University of Chicago Divinity School Professor of Theology Dwight N. Hopkins has said about the movie, "It exhibits the bodacious, repulsive, iconoclastic, sophomoric, insulting, stereotyping, and illogicality…"  

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared The Love Guru "morally offensive" and slapped it with its highest rating "O". "Preview Online", which calls itself "informative tool for Christian parents and moviegoers", gave it Morality Rating of –4 (Dangerous), which is lowest of five categories, highest being +4. "Christian Spotlight on Entertainment" gave it a Moral Rating of "Very Offensive". Crosswalk, a Christ-centred corporation, wrote in the movie review, "…slew of seriously wince-inducing jabs at India’s culture (horrible, even when meant in fun)…"