Hindus ask for a disclaimer with Cameron’s “Avatar”

November 5th, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

Concerned Hindus have asked James Cameron to attach a disclaimer in the beginning and end of his forthcoming blockbuster “Avatar” saying that it has nothing to do with Hinduism or its concepts.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that “avatar” was one of the central themes of Hinduism and insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, explains that “Avatar”, a Sanskrit term, means descent or incarnation. Hinduism is shaped by its traditional belief in the incarnation of Vishnu (the Preserver in Hindu trinity) into ten forms to establish dharma (divine law), which include Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Kalki (believed to come at the end of present Kaliyuga). Hindus believe that without such intervention, the entire created universe would have gone into decline. Many devotees also regard their respective Gurus as incarnations of the Divine.

In chapter four of ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), Lord Krishna explains the reasons for God’s descent: “Whenever dharma declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest myself on earth”. Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly, Rajan Zed points out.

Supporting the concern of Hindus, Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA, has also said that Avatar’s director James Cameron should respect the feelings of worried Hindus. Nevada Clergy Association has also urged Cameron to put a disclaimer in the beginning of the movie explaining that it has no relationship with Hinduism or its concepts/terminology. In a 2007 interview with Time, James Cameron himself defined “avatar” as “an incarnation of one of the Hindu gods taking a flesh form”.

Budgeted around USD 230 million, futuristic “Avatar”, an upcoming digital 3-D science fiction feature film, is directed and written by Canada born three Oscars winning James Francis Cameron, 55, of highest-grossing and 11 Oscars carrying “Titanic” fame. In it, a band of humans, two centuries in the future, are pitted in a heroic battle against a distant planet’s indigenous population. It is due to be released in France-Egypt-Belgium on December 16 and USA on December 18 next. It is claimed to be biggest ever Hollywood release in India where, besides English, it will reportedly be released in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu also.

Cast includes Australia born Sam Worthington (Somersault), Oscar nominated Sigourney Weaver (Aliens), Michelle Rodriguez (Girlfight), Zoe Saldana (Guess Who), Giovanni Ribisi (The Gift), Stephen Lang (Gods and Generals), etc. Shot in Hawaii, California, and New Zealand; produced by Cameron and Jon Landau under Lightstorm Entertainment; and released by 20th Century Fox; it is Cameron’s first work as director since Titanic (1997). Music in the film is provided by James Horner and editing by John Refoua and Stephen Rivkin. It is claimed to offer a groundbreaking mix of live-action dramatic performances and computer-generated effects. Cameron reportedly described it as “adventure with an environmental conscience”.

-Sampurn Media

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