Washington, May 21 : Hindu groups have contacted cinema or film related organizations in UK urging them not to distribute or screen upcoming Hollywood movie "The Love Guru" till its presenter Paramount Pictures makes necessary changes to it.
Advancing the movement launched by acclaimed Hindu leader Rajan Zed; Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Society for Scientific Spirituality, in communiques to UK Department of Culture, Film Council, British Board of Film Classification, British Council, British Film Institute, British Screen Advisory Council, Cinema Exhibitors Association, Film Distributors' Association, Churches' Media Council, Video Standards Council, Cineworld Cinemas, Office of Film Communication, Showcase Cinemas and United International Pictures, said, "Stop distributing or screening of the movie till Paramount made necessary changes to it, 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," Shinde said in this communique.
"It will hurt the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus worldwide. We are supporting Zed's protest against the denigration. Poking fun is one thing, but if it creates a sense of belittling other's faith, then it is wrong," Shinde added.
Meanwhile, furthering the drive pioneered by Zed, various organisations and leaders have been coming out expressing concern about the possibility of the movie 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 or religious, music, yoga and civil rights leaders have already issued statements in support of this cause espoused by Zed.
On the other hand, Hindu groups have recently been approaching film distributors associations, exhibitors groups, regulatory bodies, government ministries and theater owners in various parts of the world urging them not to distribute or screen the film.
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."
Ilona Cheshire, Press Officer of prestigious British Film Institute (BFI), wrote in her reply, "Please rest assured that the BFI will not be screening this title nor will be involved with a possible release of it."
J.L. Green, Chief Assistant (Policy) to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), replying the communique, said, "The BBFC is sympathetic to your concerns. However, the movie has not been submitted to the BBFC for classification."
A prominent Jewish Rabbi, Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada (USA), has called for boycott of the film because it "lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy" and asking "who laughs at religious practices".
Paramount Pictures, through its Senior Vice President National Publicity, Jessica Rovins, has earlier stated, "It is our full intention to screen the film for 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.