Is ‘The Love Guru’ offensive or funny or both?
Posted on June 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm
Mike Myers’ new comedy “The Love Guru,” which opens on Friday, has already led to complaints from members of the Hindu community for “lampooning Hinduism and Hindus and using Hindu terms frivolously.” Beliefnet has invited Hindu leaders, publications and groups, including Hindu Janajagruti Samiti to explain their feelings about the movie.
Poking fun is one thing, but if it creates a sense of belittling others’ faith, then it is wrong. Those who claim such protest movements as marring the tolerant spirit of Hinduism seem to be ignorant about the basic tradition of Hinduism that encourages peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit.
More information about the concerns of this community and their protests are available online.
Deepak Chopra, who appears in the movie and whose friendship with Mike Myers inspired the film, says:
As viewers will find out when the movie is released this summer, no one is more thoroughly skewered in it than I am–you could even say that I am made to seem preposterous. If I don’t take offense and some Hindus do, that doesn’t make me superior or more mature or even innately tolerant. I just know the difference between a belly laugh and a diatribe.
If “The Love Guru” were a sermon delivered in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, comedy would turn into religious propaganda. The premature outcry against the movie is itself religious propaganda. Worse than that, the protestors expose the insecurity of Hindus who don’t believe that their faith can stand on its own…Silliness often has wisdom hidden just beneath the surface–perhaps “The Love Guru” will, also, since Myers laced his Austin Powers farce with a message about tolerance–but if you can’t accept silliness in the first place, you are likely to be immune to wisdom, too.
The deeper irony is that the phrase “Hindu fundamentalism” is a paradox to begin with. The more purely you follow Hinduism, the more you tolerate differences, because God is seen everywhere.
People who want to learn more or express their own views can do so in this discussion group.