USA, 29 Apr:Hindu groups are contacting film distributors associations, exhibitors groups, theater owners, etc., in various parts of the world urging them not to distribute/screen upcoming movie "The Love Guru" till Paramount Pictures makes necessary changes to it.Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Society for Scientific Spirituality, in communiqués to Motion Picture Association of America; International Federation of Film Distributors Associations and International Union of Cinemas—both based in France; National Association of Theater Owners; Central Board of Film Certification India; and various other such bodies, 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."
"…If the trailer is an indicator of the content of the movie…then we feel that this movie is most likely to hurt the sentiments of seekers from various spiritual paths…it will hurt the religious sentiments of the millions of Hindus worldwide, who hold the ‘Guru-disciple’ relationship as sacred…we are supporting Rajan Zed’s protest against the denigration…", Shinde stressed in this communiqué and added, "Poking fun is one thing, but if it creates a sense of belittling other’s faith, then it is wrong."
Meanwhile, furthering the drive pioneered by acclaimed Hindu and Indo-American leader Rajan Zed, various organizations and leaders have been coming out expressing concern about the possibility of the film 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.
Dinesh Ghodke, Director of World Alliance for Youth Empowerment, in a statement said, "…there is no point in creating more prejudice in the name of religion…" and urged the Paramount Pictures to take into consideration the sentiments of more than a billion strong community around the world.
Vamsi Krishna of Australia chapter of Sanatan Sanstha, in a letter to Australia Attorney General, on the issue of "The Love Guru" hurting religious sentiments, wrote, "…please intervene in this issue and to kindly use your good office to put a ban on this movie from being released in Australia…"
Sean Clarke, Editor of Spiritual Science Research Foundation, in a letter to Paramount Pictures, urged, "…Change the name of the movie, remove any form of denigration towards the Guru, apologize to the international spiritual community."
Prominent documentary filmmaker, Bryan D. Hall, who recently completed a film "Article VI" on faith and politics in America; Reverend Alan Dorway, Presbyterian Pastor in Nevada; Natalie Kaharick, one of the leaders of International Association for Human Values; Irwin Sharp Fish Sr., a Native American Cultural/Spirituality Educator belonging to Sicangu Lakota/Burnt Thigh Sioux tradition; Pete Fairley, who runs a highly regarded music group Meadow Rock Percussion; William M. Miller, Chaplain-Educator in Spokane (Washington); Nick J. Coltrain, a student journalist; Reverend John J. Auer, Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Reno; Andrea Forman, Founder of Shanti Shanti, only Sanskrit rock band in the world; Swami Pooja Saraswati, a well respected spiritual leader; Alison Pratte, a yoga leader; Father Charles T. Durante, a Catholic priest well respected in northern Nevada for his various community outreach efforts; Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, a well known Jewish leader in parts of California and Nevada; Right Reverend Gene Savoy Jr., Head Bishop of International Community of Christ; Reverend William Bartlett, a well known Buddhist priest and Interfaith Chaplain; Lonnie L. Feemster, civil rights activist and Religious Affairs Chair of Reno-Sparks National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Vidya Chaitanya, Director of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Los Angeles; Paradheya Das of Sri Krishna Vedic Cultural Association in Sacramento (California); Jawahar L. Khurana, Chairperson of Hindu Alliance of India; Rakesh Nagpal, General Secretary of Shri Ramayan Pracharini Sabha; Lila D. Sharma, President of India Heritage Panel; and Dharam Loonaa, Executive Director of the Universal Society of Hinduism; have already issued statements in support of this cause espoused by Rajan Zed.
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 (of Austin Powers fame, who is also the co-writer and co-producer), Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Ben Kingsley; and directed by Marco Schnabel; is set to release on June 20 next. In it Myers, an American, raised in an ashram in India, moves back to US as Guru Pitka to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion followers. Moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.
Paramount Pictures Corporation is a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment.