British institute denies Hindu group’s claim on film

May 14th, 2008 - 10:38 pm ICT by admin  

London, May 14 (IANS) The British Film Institute (BFI) Wednesday said its decision not to screen the Hollywood comedy, “The Love Guru”, has nothing to do with objections by Hindu groups. “The only reason we are not screening the film is that we don’t support large budget films from Hollywood. We tend to screen small-budget films that need our support,” the BFI’s Rachel Kirk said.

“There is no religious or moral reason whatsoever behind our decision not to screen it,” she said.

The clarification came after a news report from New York said the BFI had written to the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (Hindu mass awareness society) saying it will not screen the film until changes are made to its content.

The BFI is known throughout the world for its promotion of alternative cinema. It is also a favourite haunt of cinema lovers in London but, typically, does not screen Hollywood blockbusters like “The Love Guru”.

Campaigners say they have also written to the British department of culture and film certification board expressing their objections, which appear to be based on two short trailers that are available on the youtube website.

In the film, Hollywood comedian Mike Myers plays Pitka, an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and, raised by gurus, becomes the world’s greatest authority on relationships.

After moving back to the US, he is offered $2 million to reunite a star ice hockey player and his wife in time for a key match.

“Pitka’s job is to check that illicit romance and reunite the couple so the star player can lead his team to the championship,” the movie’s official website says.

“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,” Bhavna Shinde of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti in the US has said.

The film appears to have plenty of gags lampooning Indian gurus. Its tagline is, “His Karma is huge”.

And Pitka introduces himself by flaunting his own acronym for guru, telling his disciples: “My goal is to get you to say ‘Gee, you are you…TM’.”

TM stands for transcendental meditation - a technique popularised by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Manu Narayan, who plays Pitka’s apprentice Rajneesh, told IANS in a recent interview in the US: “My true feeling is this is a tempest in a teapot created by someone whose only frame of reference is a short trailer. `The Love Guru’ is classic Mike Myers; it is tremendously funny and it has heart.”

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