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Hindus concerned about Julia Roberts' Eat, Pray, Love
The release date for Oscar winner Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) starrer 'Eat, Pray, Love' has been announced, its trailer is out, but now Hindus are concerned about the authenticity of the depiction of Hinduism.
RELEASE DATE for Oscar winner Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) starrer ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ has been announced, its trailer is out, but now Hindus are concerned about the authenticity of the depiction of Hinduism objects-rituals-beliefs-concepts-traditions-philosophy in it.

Directed by Emmy nominated Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck), its India part was shot in/around Pataudi, about 60 kilometers from India’s capital Delhi. Starting with United States of America release on August 13, it will be released in India on August 27, by Sony Pictures. It is yet to be rated.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada, USA today, said that Hinduism and its belief system were quite often incorrectly depicted outside India and he hoped that filmmakers in this case would stick to authentic traditions in order to avoid misrepresenting the already misunderstood religion, which was oldest and third largest in the world. Film, being a powerful medium, misrepresentation would not be fair to Hindus and Hinduism.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that Hindus welcomed Hollywood to explore the spirituality and rich philosophical thought of Hinduism but taking it seriously and depicting it authentically. Refashioning it for mercantile greed or to fit the Hollywood machine created more confusion and hurt the Hindu sentiments.

Rajan Zed, pointed out that if the filmmaker needed any help concerning depiction of Hinduism or related issues, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to assist.

Based on Pushcart Prize winner Elizabeth Gilbert’s spirituality/travel memoir (played by Roberts), ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is about her self-discovery and soul-searching after her nasty divorce, exploring through India, Italy and Indonesia. Gilbert goes to India to learn the ‘art of devotion’. A critic has defined it as ‘the worst in Western fetishisation of Eastern thought and culture’.

Meanwhile, Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening has said that filmmakers still have time before the August release to make a final visit to the movie and edit it accordingly so that authenticity of Hinduism is not compromised and thus honouring the feelings of billion Hindus.

People of India will be anxious to see how perfectly Roberts does her job of cleaning ashram (hermitage) floors as a part of her devotional duty, trying to recite 182-verse Sanskrit chant and going through grueling hours of meditation while being feasted on by mosquitoes. Gilbert reportedly spent four months in an India ashram few years back, trying to find her spirituality.

Besides Roberts, other cast of this drama film includes Golden Globe winner James Franco (Pineapple Express), Oscar winner Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls), MTV nominated Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), Oscar nominated Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) and Oscar nominated Viola Davis (Doubt). Dede Gardner (A Mighty Heart) is the producer, while Oscar nominated Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is the executive producer.

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