Nutter clamour is growing against the upcoming Hollywood movie The Love Guru over denigrating Hindu traditions.
The movement is spearheaded by Hindu chaplain and Indo-American leader Rajan Zed.
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.
Swami Pooja Saraswati, a spiritual leader says: I watched the trailer of the movie Love Guru and was shocked that any respectable movie producer would so blatantly ridicule a great world religion, a culture, spiritual path and sincere
way of life, portraying it as farce. Producers Paramount Pictures will agree to make changes suggested by Rajan Zed and other Hindu leaders, during the premier of this insulting film before millions of Hindus, yogis and people of high
spiritual consciousness around the world feel hurt, offended and outraged, she added.
Reverend John J. Auer, Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Reno added his support: Neither Zed nor I have any interest in censorship... HOWEVER ...it is crucial that every faith tradition be given the chance to be heard in
response to any portrayal in popular culture of elements of that tradition that might be easily misrepresented and/or misunderstood .
Alison Pratte, a yoga leader, has stated, I was offended after watching the trailer of The Love Guru . The depiction of the main character in the movie seems more than a harmless spoof. It is loaded with an ignorant stereotype of a
culture and religion that is already misunderstood and stigmatized. This movie will only cause more ignorance and bring shame to a beautiful tradition that has existed for thousands of years.
The Love Guru is a comedy film starring Mike Myers (who is also the co-writer and co-producer), Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake and Ben Kingsley, is directed by Marco Schnabel and due for release on June 20 this year. In this film, Myers
as Pitka, an American, raised in an ashram in India, moves back to US as Guru to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality.
Hindu nutters have contacted various cinema organisations in Australia urging them not to distribute or screen the upcoming Hollywood movie The Love Guru until Paramount Pictures makes changes to it.
Vamsi Krishna, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Society for Scientific Spirituality, sent a letter to several film groups saying the film would hurt the feelings of the worldwide spiritual and Hindu community unless certain
scenes were altered.
The letter went to the Australia Classification Board, Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia, Australian Film Commission, Media Standards Australia, Becker Entertainment, Hopscotch Films, Hoyts Cinema Chain, Palace Cinemas, and
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 and also the peaceful Hindu community at large in Australia, the letter
said: Poking fun is one thing ...BUT... if it creates a sense of belittling others'
faith, then it is wrong.
Update: Worldwide Calls
12th May 2008
Hindu groups have contacted Central Board of Film Certification (Censor Board) and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of India, urging them not to screen upcoming Hollywood movie The Love Guru till its presenter Paramount Pictures
makes necessary changes in it.
It seems that the hindu groups are sending their calls for a ban worldwide and the same story is cropping up in multiple stories. Surely good hype for Love Guru.
Hindu groups have contacted various cinema/film related organizations around the world and mist recently to Canada urging them not to distribute/screen upcoming Hollywood movie The Love Guru till its presenter Paramount Pictures
makes 'necessary changes' to it.
Furthering the drive pioneered by Indo-American leader Rajan Zed, various organizations and leaders have been coming out expressing 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.
G. Kendrick Macdowell, Vice President of the National Association of Theatre Owners, largest exhibition trade organization in the world, replying to one such request 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...
Ilona Cheshire, Press Officer of prestigious British Film Institute (BFI), 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.
J.L. Green, Chief Assistant (Policy) to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), replying the communique, said, The BBFC is sympathetic to your concerns. However, THE LOVE GURU has not been submitted to the BBFC for
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 supposed damage done by their upcoming Hollywood
movie The Love Guru .
Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Society for Scientific Spirituality, in a communique to Paramount Pictures said: ...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.
Hindus have appealed to the MPAA for assigning upcoming Hollywood movie, The Love Guru , NC-17 (adults only) rating instead of currently held PG-13.
Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, in communiques to MPAA, said: Paramount Pictures, presenter of The Love Guru movie, has not pre-screened it for Hindu leaders, despite various requests by Hindu leaders so that
they have more information. So, from the information available about the movie, it appears to be mocking and ridiculing Hinduism, Hindu philosophy, ashram life, Hindu concepts and terminology, Gurus, etc. Cinema is a powerful medium and it
can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, especially in the minds of younger audiences, who are passing through an impressionable phase. We do not want our next generation to be growing up with a distorted view of Hinduism and
Shinde further said in the communique: We appeal to you to reconsider your earlier rating decision this season and assign The Love Guru movie the 'NC-17' rating. If the filmmaker wants a lower rating, they should pre-screen it for
Rajan Zed, us and other Hindu leaders, edit the material objectionable (if any) to this group and re-submit the movie to you.
The Love Guru , a comedy starring Mike Myers, is set to release on June 20.
A Fremont-linked Hindu rights group that got a last-minute screening of The Love Guru , had few kind words about the new Mike Myers comedy, which pokes fun at enigmatic Indian spiritual guidance.
The film was vulgar, crude and — in the opinion of many of our attendees — too often tasteless in its puerile choice of humor, said Aseem Shukla, a board member of the Hindu American Foundation: Very few of the Hindus viewing the
film, however, found it overtly anti-Hindu or mean-spirited.
In a statement, the foundation said: Most agreed that the film will be widely seen as a satire of a Hindu character, though this is never overtly stated in the film.
Still, many of the foundation members expressed unease that since widespread understanding of Hinduism ... is so limited, this film does nothing to promote tolerance and pluralism, and may reinforce widely held negative and exotic
stereotypes of Hindus.
Virginia Lam, a spokeswoman for Paramount, said in a statement: The 'Love Guru' is a Mike Myers comedy in the same spirit of 'Austin Powers.' No one could confuse, or has confused, this film as intending to tackle serious issues
surrounding faith and religion.
Hindus are for free speech ...BUT...
Rajan Zed is a Hindu chaplain in northwestern Nevada and he has led the campaign against Love Guru
He wrote in a blog:
Despite lot of support and encouragement, we faced some criticism also: Why is religion trying to censor free speech? Is Hinduism so weak that a small movie can damage it? Why are you protesting when you have not even seen the movie? Why
can't Hindus take a joke? Who made you the representative of Hindus and speak for them? This movie is not about Hinduism and Hindus and is a mythical and completely made up system of teachings. And so on.
Hindus are for free speech as much as anybody else, if not more. Hindu tradition encourages peaceful debates to be won on their intellectual merit ...BUT... faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the
devotees. Filmmakers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as cinema is a very powerful medium.
Of course a small movie, which will be forgotten in few months, would not destroy the great tradition of Hinduism, which has been around longer than any other established religion and has faced many onslaughts and come out stronger ...BUT...
Hinduism is often misunderstood and wrongly portrayed outside India. Movies like this bring more confusion and create stereotypes in the minds of audience, many of whom may not have had any other exposure to its tenets.
Humor is a part and parcel of Hindu society and our folk festivals, plays, stories, etc., are full of parody, satire, mimicry, buffoonery, etc. We are strong enough to take a joke or rather many jokes ...BUT...
there are certain convictions in every tradition, which are venerable and not meant to be mocked.
Comedy should make everybody smile and should not come at the expense of ridiculing others’ faith and spreading misinformation. Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers and a rich
philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed.
Moreover, cinema is a forceful medium and it can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences. So it should handle faith related subjects especially carefully.
US Nutters are fearful that The Love Guru mocks hinduism. They petitioned many companies involved in the distribution of the film including the BBFC. They asked the American film censors to award the adults only NC-17 rating.
But it doesn't sound like the religious aspect of the film made much impact at the BBFC.
The BBFC have kindly explained the uncut 12A rating as follows:
THE LOVE GURU is a sex comedy about an American playing an Indian love guru who is employed by an ice hockey team coach to help one of her top players get back with his estranged wife so he can lead his team to
victory. It was classified '12A' for frequent moderate sex references and moderate language
There are moderate sex references throughout the film, many of them playing on the 'Carry On' film tradition of innuendo and double entendre. Examples include: a numberplate which reads 'Big Coq', a reference to 'they were into doggy style
before the missionary position' when the holy man talks about a couple who became missionaries, a couple of references to a man having 'syphilis' but without any further elaboration at all, an elephant having completed its 'ejaculation'
after mating and an acronym of BLOWME' pronounced 'blome'. Most of these references and the context of the film are good natured rather than intentionally crude, and on these grounds the references were felt to be acceptable at '12A' where
Guidelines on sex state 'Sexual activity may be implied. Sex references may reflect what is likely to be familiar to most adolescents but should not go beyond what is suitable for them.'
Language includes the use of 'prick' and 'bitch' which would be unacceptable at 'PG' where 'mild bad language only' should be present, but does not present a problem at '12A' where 'infrequent use of strong language' is acceptable.
THE LOVE GURU also contains some scenes of comic violence and slapstick e.g. hockey players fighting on the ice rink with comic sound effects and a holy man hitting himself with chainsticks. There are also a couple of passing drug
references, for example when a man is talking rubbish his colleague asks 'you're back on drugs aren't you?', which lacks detail, is ambiguous and possibly refers to medication.
Australia's Hindu community has called for a boycott of Mike Myers' new film The Love Guru .
Sajana Nand, president of the Australian Hindu Multicultural Association, said he believed a comedy should make people laugh... BUT ... not at the expense of ridiculing faith or spreading misinformation.
Nand called on other religious and community leaders to support the boycott: We support free speech ...BUT... our faith is sacred and attempts at belittling it has hurt the devotees.
Any attempt by an individual or an organisation to make a mockery of a guru shouldn't go unchallenged. Based on the information I have got, I would strongly urge a nationwide boycott of the movie.
Nand said he would call on the Film Classification Board to review the suitability of the fun.
Hindus do not seem to be pleased with Singapore Board of Film Censors classifying Hollywood movie The Love Guru with “NC16” [16+] rating. They are demanding this be raised to R21 [21+].
Bhavna Shinde, who represents Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha, has appealed to Singapore Censor Board to assign The Love Guru its highest “R21” rating. She said that the film blatantly ridicules and denigrates Hinduism
and Hindu concepts.
While writing to Singapore Media Development authority, she wrote: Cinema is a powerful medium and it can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, especially in the minds of younger audiences, who are passing through an
impressionable phase. We do not want the next generation of Singapore growing up with a distorted view of Hinduism and Hindus.
The Love Guru is reportedly scheduled to be released in Singapore on September 4, 2008.
Rajan Zed, a nutter Hindu leader has criticised Australia classification board for giving it 'M' (recommended for mature audiences) classification when he said it deserved the highest 'R18+' (restricted to 18 and over)
Nobody wants the next generation of Australians, who are under 18 and passing through highly impressionable period of their lives, growing up with distorted view of Hinduism, Zed says.
According to reports, a protest has been planned outside Brisbane theatres, when the movie is released in Australia on July 10.
It seems that the protesting Hindus will not be able to appeal against the “K11” rating given by Finnish Board of Film Classification to the Hollywood movie The Love Guru , which they wanted to be raised.
Maarit Pietinen, Senior Examiner of the Board, in a communiqué to Hindu leader Rajan Zed, said, Only the distributor can appeal against the decision of the Board.
Criticising this, Zed has said that other affected parties by the movie, in this case Hindus, should also have same rights of appeal against rating decisions as the distributor/owner, if they are not satisfied with the classification.
When asked, Does not the Board think that this movie ridicules a religion?, Pietinen replied: In the Act which we are obliged to follow, there are no such ground as blasphemy or ridicule of religion, therefore it was not
Denouncing Finnish Board of Film Classification for giving it “K11” rating when it deserved the highest “K18” rating, Rajan Zed stresses that while Board says The primary purpose of the classification of audiovisual programs is to
protect children, but by giving The Love Guru a “K11” rating, it is leading the highly impressionable Finnish children between 11 to 18 years to grow with a distorted view of Hinduism.
Zed says that in this fast changing world, Board's classification criteria seems to be outdated and it needs immediate revision.
Supported by some other organisations, Zed has given a Finland-wide boycott call for Hollywood movie The Love Guru by Hindus and other religious Finns because it lampoons Hinduism and Hindu concepts and uses Hindu terms
Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu leader has given a United Kingdom (UK)-wide boycott call for Hollywood movie The Love Guru by Hindus and other religious Brits because it lampoons Hinduism and Hindu concepts and uses Hindu terms
Zed has also criticized BBFC for giving it "12A" classification, when he says it deserved the highest "18" classification. Although BBFC claims We help to protect vulnerable viewers and society from the effects
of viewing potentially harmful or unsuitable content, but by giving The Love Guru a "12A" rating, it is leading the highly impressionable British children between 12 to 18 years to grow-up with a distorted view of
Hinduism, Zed adds.
The Love Guru , a comedy starring Mike Myers (of Austin Powers fame) will be released in UK on August 1st.
Update: Ireland's Turn
16th July 2008
Zed has also criticized Irish Film Censor's Office (IFCO) for giving it "15A" (suitable for 15 and upwards) classification, when he says it deserved the highest "18" (over 18) classification.
Although IFCO claims We have a duty to protect children and young persons from harm, but by giving The Love Guru a "15A" rating, it is leading the highly impressionable Irish children between 15 to 18 years to
grow-up with a distorted view of Hinduism, Zed adds.
Update: Sweden's Turn
18th July 2008
Zed said the guru in The Love Guru instigates a bar fight, repeatedly narrates penis jokes, mocks yoga (one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy), wears female jewelry, mocks the concept of third eye, makes disciples
drink tea passed through his nose, orders alligator soup, induces elephant copulation in front of the crowd, introduces himself as “His Holiness”, lives in a lavish ashram staffed with scantily clad maids, and whose goal in life seems
to appear on Oprah Winfrey show.
He predictably called for a Swedish wide boycott of the film and for the Swedish film censors to award the highest rating.
The Malaysia Hindu ruling body, the Sangam, wants to be included on the Film Censorship Board panel to have a say on the screening of movies which are deemed insensitive and offensive to Hindus.
It's Sensitive Issues Sub-Committee chairman P. Murugiah said the board must respect the sentiments of Hindus when approving the screening of movies in theatres.
He expressed regret that the movie Love Guru was still being screened in theatres nationwide despite the organisation's call for the movie to be banned two weeks ago: But despite the objection, the board approved the movie
for screening without even removing the sensitive scenes such as the picture of Lord Ganesha on a chastity belt, obscene yoga postures, elephants copulating in front of a crowd and a lavish ashram staffed with scantily clad women
Murugiah said the Hollywood movie clearly poked fun at the Hindu religion and culture through actor Mike Myer's portrayal of a spiritual advisor or guru.
He said he was puzzled that the movie was not banned here as it clearly breached the Penal Code, the Film Censorship Act 2002 and the Sedition Act 1948.
Murugiah said protests held in India and Singapore had resulted in the movie not being screened there.