It isn’t just Bollywood that’s paranoid about offending sensibilities and the culture Taliban. Paramount Pictures, producers of The Love Guru — billed as the biggest Hollywood comedy this summer — have decided to screen the movie for Hindu leaders before its June release.
According to reports, Canadian comic Mike Myers has lived up to his reputation of irreverence bordering on innuendo in the film. “The movie appeared to be lampooning Hinduism and Hindus and using Hindu terms frivolously,” Rajan Zed, Nevada-based chief of the Universal Society of Hinduism, and “America’s most savvy Hindu priest”, said after watching the trailer.
The movie featuring Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake and Ben Kingsley, “is a satire created in the same spirit as Austin Powers”, says Paramount publicist Jessica Rovins.
So, anticipate the same crude humour that laced the spy spoof series. In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Myers spoke about Guru Shastri who taught him hypnosis, “a chaste man who died from a disease that had the hallmarks of syphilis”.
In The Love Guru, Kingsley plays Guru Tugginmypudha, the ashram leader who teaches Myers how to love himself and wear a chastity belt. Iranian stand-up comic Omid Djalili enacts Guru Satchabigknoba. Myers plays Guru Pitka, an American raised in an ashram in India, who moves back to the US to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality. The movie also has a cameo by celebrated New Age guru Deepak Chopra.
“It’s immature, it’s juvenile, it’s strange, it’s quintessential Myers,” says Djalili on his blog. In a 1999 photo spread in Vanity Fair, Myers posed as a Hindu icon with a long red tongue, surrounded by nude women who resembled Goddess Kali.
Zed, who delivered the first Hindu opening prayer in the US Senate last year, demanded Paramount pre-screen the film, citing the precedent of Mel Gibson getting The Passion of Christ cleared by Jews and Christians.
With agency inputs