Washington, May 1 : Hindu groups are contacting film distributor associations, exhibitor groups, theater owners and others in various parts of the world, including the United States, to urge them not to distribute or screen the movie "The Love Guru" till Paramount Pictures, the producer of the film, makes necessary changes to it.
Bhavna Shinde, representing the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and the Sanatan Society for Scientific Spirituality, in communiques to the Motion Picture Association of America, the International Federation of Film Distributors Associations and the International Union of Cinemas-both based in France, the National Association of Theater Owners, the Central Board of Film Certification of India, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and various other such bodies, said: "Stop distributing or screening the movie till Paramount has made necessary changes to the movie, so that it will not hurt the feelings of the worldwide spiritual and Hindu community."
"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. It will hurt the religious sentiments of the millions of Hindus worldwide, who hold the 'Guru-disciple' relationship as sacred. We are supporting Rajan Zed's protest against the denigration," Shinde added.
"Poking fun is one thing, but if it creates a sense of belittling other's faith, then it is wrong," she said.
Meanwhile, furthering the drive pioneered by Indian American Hindu leader Rajan Zed, various organisations and leaders have been 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.
Dinesh Ghodke, the Director of World Alliance for Youth Empowerment, in a statement said: "There is no point in creating more prejudice in the name of religion," and urged Paramount Pictures to consider the sentiments of over a billion strong Hindu community around the world.
Vamsi Krishna of Sanatan Sanstha's Australia chapter, in a letter to Australian Attorney General on the issue of "The Love Guru" hurting religious sentiments, wrote, "Please intervene in this issue and kindly use your good office to put a ban on this movie from being released in Australia."
Sean Clarke, the Editor of the Spiritual Science Research Foundation, in a letter to Paramount Pictures, urged, "Change the name of the movie, remove any form of denigration towards the Guru and apologise to the international spiritual community."
Several prominent documentary filmmakers, religious leaders and cultural organisations across the United States of America have already issued statements in support of this cause espoused by Zed.
Paramount Pictures, through its senior vice president (National Publicity), Jessica Rovins, had 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's fame, who is also the co-writer and co-producer), Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake and Ben Kingsley and directed by Marco Schnabel, is set to be released on June 20 next. In the movie, 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.