Rajan Zed, who held Hindu prayers in the Senate last year, a groundbreaking event, is concerned about The Love Guru. Though Paramount Pictures have invited him and several other Hindu leaders to see the comedy featuring Mike Myers as a guru who has returned to America after an Indian sojourn, Zed is not clear what he or his organisation, Universal Society of Hinduism, will do if the film is released in its original cut. The $80 million (about Rs 320 crore) film said to be a tribute to New Age guru Dr Deepak Chopra, who has become a big figure in Myers' life in the last six years.
Hollywood has ignored the protests of Christian churches over The Da Vinci Code; the film, which starring Tom Hanks, became an international hit, grossing over $500 million (about Rs 2,000 crore). But Hollywood studios declined to distribute Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ because many Jewish groups claimed it was anti-Semitic. Distributed by an independent company, Passion... was another huge hit, grossing over $250 million (about Rs 1,000 crore) in America alone.
Controversy did not help Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation Of Christ. Released over 15 years ago, it made just about $15 million (about Rs 60 crore) in North America.
Occasionally, the protesting groups succeed. Warner Bros removed certain Sanskrit shlokas (hymns) used in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut in certain scenes, when thousands of Hindus protested against the film.
Image: Rajan Zed, after he delivered a prayer service in the US Senate on July 12, 2007 with Buddhist monk Ven Thupten Ngodup, outside Capitol Buliding in Washington, DC.
Text : Arthur J Pais | Photograph: Paresh Gandhi
Part III: 'The intelligence of God is everywhere'
Also read: Why can't India speak out?'