Days after Christopher Nolan’s three-hour global box office success Oppenheimer was released, it received a wave of backlash from the Hindu-right in India. The reason for that is one particular sex scene during which the main character, played by Cillian Murphy, reads from the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text in Hinduism.
Bhagavad Gita was likely incorporated into the film because of real-life Oppenheimer’s fascination with the Hindu religion. He was so much into it, that he even translated the sacred text from Sanskrit into English.
Hindus from part of India are now left furious because Nolan chose to portray Oppenheimer’s love for the religion during an explicit scene.
Uday Mahurkar, journalist and the founder of Save Culture Save India (SCSI), penned an open letter to Christopher Nolan himself.
“It has come to our notice that the movie Oppenheimer contains a scene which makes a scathing attack on Hinduism,” he wrote. “As per social media reports, a scene in the movie shows a woman making a man read Bhagwad Geeta aloud while getting over him and doing sexual intercourse. She is holding Bhagwad Geeta in one hand, and the other hand seems to be adjusting the position of their reproductive organs.”
Mahurkar continued: “The Bhagwad Geeta is one of the most revered scriptures of Hinduism. Geeta has been the inspiration for countless sanyasis, brahmcharis and legends who live a life of self-control and perform selfless noble deeds.”
He then added that neither he nor his people understand why the sacred text was read during the scene in which the character of Oppenheimer makes love to his lover Jean Tatlock, played by Florence Pugh.
“We urge, on behalf of billion Hindus and timeless tradition of lives being transformed by revered Geeta, to do all that is needed to uphold dignity of their revered book and remove this scene from your film across world,” Mahurkar added.
However, not everyone agreed with Mahurkar. Many criticized him for speaking on the behalf of all Hindus and for drawing a comparison to Islam.
Mr Christopher Nolan
Director , Oppenheimer film
Date : July 22, 2023
Reg: Film Oppenheimer’s disturbing attack on Hinduism
Dear Mr Christopher Nolan,
Namaste from Save Culture Save India Foundation.
It has come to our notice that the movie…
— Uday Mahurkar (@UdayMahurkar) July 22, 2023
The film follows the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the creator of the first atomic bomb.
Back in the day, or twenty years after the first ever nuclear explosion on Earth, known as the Trinity test bomb, Oppenheimer said in an interview, “We know the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”
Christopher, if you have as time not to do and listen to senseless rants, do pls not.
My religion is not weak and I was very glad to see the two lines read by Cilian from Geeta. It went to show that even as early Geeta was touching lives of people across the world.
— Rajiv Kumar (@rajivrem) July 23, 2023
Murphy himself described the scene is question as “powerful.”
“Those scenes were written deliberately,” Murphy said. “[Christopher Nolan, the director] knew that those scenes would get the movie the rating that it got.
“And I think when you see it, it’s so f****** powerful. And they’re not gratuitous. They’re perfect.”
The film has already made $80 million at the US box office and $174 million globally.
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