A prominent Jewish Rabbi has called for boycott of upcoming movie “The Love Guru” because it “lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy” and asking “who laughs at religious practices”.
Rabbi Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada, in a statement, said, ” ‘The Love Guru’ lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy. While ‘Guru Pitka’ states that he endorses no particular religion, the movie clearly portrays him as a guru – religious leader of Hindus. It is unfortunate that the comedy jabs at a culture of which many Americans are not familiar. It leaves viewers with a distorted, sexually flagrant parody…In the case of this movie, we owe it to our Hindu friends to speak out against this misleading sham. Gross distortions of another culture do not lead to improved relations, tolerance and understanding. They lead towards disrespect. Please join me in a boycott of this movie.”
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 this 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. 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 Rajan Zed.
On the other hand, 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.
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…”
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.