US Hindus’ concerns about ‘Love Guru’ find wider support

March 31st, 2008 - 4:12 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 31 (IANS) The concerns of Hindus in the US that upcoming Hollywood comedy “The Love Guru” may degrade their institutions has found support from leaders of other faiths, even as the film’s producers have agreed to pre-screen it for Hindu representatives before its release. Father Charles T. Durante, a Catholic priest in northern Nevada, said in a statement Sunday: “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.”

Rajan Zed, who has delivered Hindu opening prayers in the US Senate and many state legislatures, had taken up the issue with Paramount after watching the trailer of the Mike Myers film. The comedy is about an Indian-style American guru with a knack for solving celebrities’ romantic problems.

Said Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, who has a following in parts of California and Nevada: “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 film’s producers to assure that they in no way wish to make any general statements about Hinduism.”

Right Reverend Gene Savoy Jr., head Bishop of the International Community of Christ, said that one must take religion seriously and businesses should give due regard to the feelings of adherents of various faiths.

Some Hindu organisations have also joined the issue.

Vidya Chaitanya, director of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Los Angeles, 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.”

Zed has urged Paramount to be prepared to make amends if needed after it is screened for Hindu leaders.

“The Love Guru”, with a cameo by new age guru Deepak Chopra, starring Ben Kingsley, Jessica Alba and Justin Timberlake, appears to be using double entendres - “His karma is huge” is its tagline, and guru characters have names like Tugginmypudha, played by Kingsley.

Paramount’s publicist Jessica Rovins has defended the film as a “satire created in the same spirit as ‘Austin Powers’” - a series of comedies revolving around the madcap character created by Myers - which was not being made to offend anybody.

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