Hindus concerned about DreamWorks’ ‘Monkeys of Bollywood’

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NEVADA - Expressing concern at the recently announced animated musical ‘Monkeys of Bollywood’, Hindus have urged its proposed maker DreamWorks Animation to be careful in handling Hindu concepts and terminology.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that since the reported movie announcement claimed it to be “inspired” by timeless epic Ramayan and Ramayan being a highly revered scripture of Hinduism, film should stay true to the story and the spirit of Ramayan. Insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes results in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees.

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. 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, Zed added.

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

Zed argued that changing Ramayan to fit the Hollywood/Bollywood machine was likely to hurt the Hindu sentiment as Ramayan 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. Ram, the hero of Ramayan, 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, Rajan Zed adds.

This is said to be the first feature musical for DreamWorks. Directors Paul Mayeda Berges (What’s Cooking) and Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), lyricist Stephen Schwartz and Oscar winner composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) have reportedly teamed on Bollywood-style “Monkeys of Bollywood”, which reportedly revolves around two monkeys. DreamWorks chief creative officer Bill Damaschke and development executive Chris Kuser will reportedly oversee it.

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

DreamWorks Animation, which claims to create high-quality entertainment, reportedly theatrically released 21 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon. Roger A. Enrico is Board Chairman, while Jeffrey Katzenberg is CEO.(ANI)

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