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Hindus concerned about DreamWorks' Ramayana-inspired film 'Monkeys of Mumbai'

Nevada, Thu, 21 Jul 2011 ANI

Nevada (US), July 21 (ANI): Although DreamWorks Animation SKG has renamed the working title of their 'Monkeys' film and announced Kevin Lima as its director, the Hindus are still concerned on how Hollywood will handle their sacred scripture Ramayana, which is said to be the inspiration behind it.


Glendale (California, USA) based DreamWorks, in a release on Wednesday, said that Lima ('Enchanted') will direct the upcoming Bollywood-style animated musical adventure 'Monkeys of Mumbai' (which was announced as 'Monkeys of Bollywood' in January).


Lisa Stewart ('Turbo') and Chris Chase ('Tarzan') are the producers, Stephen Schwartz ('Wicked') is the lyricist, Oscar winner A. R. Rahman is the composer, and Gurinder Chadha and Paul Berges ('Bend It Like Beckham') are writing the feature project. The release adds that the movie is "Inspired by the great Indian epic tale of The Ramayana".


Esteemed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on Wednesday, said that since the reported movie announcement claimed it to be "inspired" by timeless epic Ramayana and Ramayana being a highly revered scripture of Hinduism, film should stay true to the story and the spirit of Ramayana.


Insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees, he said.


With seasoned and skillful professionals at the helm, we did not expect any problem, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said, and added that they were just urging for more sensitivity towards faith traditions and careful handling of Hindu concepts and terminology.


If DreamWorks Animation or their associates in this film needed any expertise on Hinduism related issues, he or other Hindu scholars would gladly provide the resources, he added.


Hindus welcomed Hollywood/Bollywood to immerse in Hinduism, but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols just for mercantile greed. Hollywood/Bollywood were welcome to make movies about Ramayana but the final product should be the true depiction of it and not a fantasized or a re-imagined version, Zed pointed out.


He argued that changing Ramayana to fit the Hollywood/Bollywood machine was likely to hurt the Hindu sentiment as Ramayana was an integral part of Hinduism and was held in such reverence that Hindus believed that simply reading/hearing of it showered blessings upon the reader/listener. Rama, the hero of Ramayana, was incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and was worshipped by Hindus.


Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered, Zed added.


Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit scripture that consists of 24,000 stanzas, explores various themes, including human existence, concept of dharma, etc. (ANI)


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