Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus do not seem to be pleased with Singapore Board of Film Censors classifying Hollywood movie “The Love Guru” with “NC16” rating, and want it raised.

Advancing the protest movement launched by acclaimed Hindu leader Rajan Zed starting in March last; Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha, has appealed to Singapore Media Development Authority (MDA) to assign “The Love Guru” its highest “R21” (Restricted 21) rating instead of currently held “NC 16″, saying ” ‘The Love Guru’ blatantly ridicules and denigrates Hinduism and Hindu concepts”.

In a communiqué to Singapore MDA, Shinde wrote, “Cinema is a powerful medium and it can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, especially in the minds of younger audiences, who are passing through an impressionable phase. We do not want the next generation of Singapore growing up with a distorted view of Hinduism and Hindus.”

Hindus argue that the “The Passion of the Christ” movie was given a “M18” rating (higher than what “The Love Guru” presently has) in Singapore in 2004 when the official classification media release said, “The film did not distort or denigrate Christianity.” On the other hand, “The Love Guru” blatantly ridicules Hinduism and Hindu concepts, so it deserves “R21” rating.

In Singapore, “NC16” rated films are suitable for 16 and above, while “R21” films are suitable for aged 21 and above. “The Love Guru” is reportedly scheduled to be released in Singapore on September four.

Meanwhile, Rajan Zed, supported by some other organizations, has given a worldwide boycott call for this movie by Hindus and other religious people because it lampoons Hinduism and Hindu concepts and uses Hindu terms frivolously. Zed, who is urging other people of faith (besides Hindus) also to boycott the movie, says, “Today it is Hinduism, tomorrow Hollywood might attempt to denigrate another religion/denomination.”

A prominent Jewish Rabbi, Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada (USA), has also called for boycott of “The Love Guru” because it “…lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy…”

Zed stresses that the broader aim of boycott against this movie is to protect the interests of various minorities and ethnicities and save them from future ridicule. Everyone is a minority in some place and in some sense and deserves to be respected. As fellow humans, is it not everybody’s duty to stand for the rights of minorities and speak for them when attempts are made at ridiculing them?

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

Meanwhile, signature campaign launched by Hindu groups against “The Love Guru” has crossed the 6,600 mark.

“The Love Guru” (88 minutes), a comedy starring Mike Myers (of Austin Powers fame), opened June 20 in USA and Canada and will be released in different parts of the world in the near future.