USA, 31 March :Some non-Hindu religious leaders have come out in support of Hindus who were concerned about the upcoming Hollywood movie "The Love Guru" apparently degrading their institutions.
Father Charles T. Durante, a Catholic priest well respected in northern Nevada for his various community outreach efforts, in a statement today, said, "…it is important that we respect those parts of every faith tradition which are held especially sacred. I applaud Paramount Pictures for being open to the request of Hindu leaders to preview this film and listen to any concerns that may arise for them…"
Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, a well known Jewish leader in parts of California and Nevada, in a statement today, stressed, "While "The Love Guru" appears to be a funny take on New Age spirituality, it seems like it may portray many Hindu practices in a less than sensitive light…it would be appropriate for the producers of "The Love Guru" to make efforts to assure the religious communities of the United States that they in no way wish to make any general statements about Hinduism."
Right Reverend Gene Savoy Jr., Head Bishop of International Community of Christ, welcoming the decision of Paramount Pictures to pre-screen the movie for Rajan Zed and other Hindu leaders, have said that we must take religion seriously and businesses should give due regard to the feelings of adherents of various faiths.
Vidya Chaitanya, Director of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Los Angeles, in a statement today, said, "…The guru has traditionally been the spiritual guide or teacher and as such is respected, revered and in some cases, worshipped…This movie demeans the role of guru…"
Another Hindu leader, Jawahar L. Khurana, Chairperson of Hindu Alliance of India, have also entered the fray. In a statement in Haryana (India), he stressed that film being so powerful a media in forming public opinion, Hollywood and other film centers should be very careful in handling the sensitivities of world communities. He welcomed the initial Paramount offer of pre-screening the movie for Zed and other Hindu leaders but added that his group would be closely watching the Paramount moves to resolve this issue to the satisfaction of the concerned Hindus.
Rakesh Nagpal of Shri Ramayan Pracharini Sabha, and Lila D. Sharma of India Heritage Panel, have lauded prominent Indo-American leader Rajan Zed for spearheading this issue and added that their organizations would fully support him in his efforts.
Meanwhile, Rajan Zed, thanking Paramount for attending to the pleas of Hindu community and attempting to reach a resolution, urged the moviemakers to be positively responsive to the concerns the Hindu leaders point out after watching the movie at the pre-screening event and be prepared to make amends if requested.
"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. "His Karma is huge" is its tagline. 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.