Scholars are concerned the Hollywood version of their ancient tale in Mumbai Musical will offend followers if the project isn't handled correctly.
DreamWorks executives announced plans to get started on the film with Enchanted director Kevin Lima at the helm earlier this month (Sep12) - but Hindu leaders fear it will become a project that mocks them rather than celebrates the religion.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed tells WENN, "Ramayana is a highly revered scripture of Hinduism and the film should stay true to the story and the spirit of Ramayana. Insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes results in the pillaging of some serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols.
"We would urge the filmmakers to be sensitive towards our faith and traditions and carefully handle Hindu concepts and terminology. If DreamWorks Animation or their associates in this film needed any expertise on Hinduism related issues, I would gladly provide the resources."
He adds, "Ramayana is an integral part of Hinduism and it is held in such reverence that Hindus believe that simply reading or hearing of it showered blessings upon the reader or listener. Rama, the hero of Ramayana, was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and is worshipped by Hindus."
I knew nothing about Monkeys of Mumbai, but was hooked once I heard the title. The developing DreamWorks Animation film has signed on director Kevin Lima, whose past projects have included Tarzan, A Goofy Movie, 102 Dalmations and Enchanted. A man this dedicated to both animated and live-action whimsy is a perfect fit for the magical tale of a pair of simians defending their home against a supernatural demon. My guess: they win.
The story is actually derivative of a Hindu poem titled "The Ramayana," wherein the reincarnated embodiment of the Hindu god Vishnu befriends and teams with a monkey soldier to battle the demon Ravana. It appears as if the DreamWorks film is straying away from some of the spirituality and focusing primarily on the power of monkeys.
There really is just something about monkeys...
S7:E8: Last night’s episode began rather ominously: “I made a fatal error…in seasoning.” Kelly rocks back and forth in a dark room staring blankly out a curtained window and wallowing in the aftermath of the catastrophic misstep that led to an over-salting of steaks. Meanwhile the entire house hisses at Alex’s every move, shrinking into the shadows and darting under rocks at the sound of his lumbering gait. Puree Thief. The words are thick in the air.
Alex was all “don’t give a shit,” while Ed meanwhile cannot seem to reconcile the great injustice done to him with his Utopian worldview and is shown confronting the harsh truth of real life: “I’m just hurt and confused. Why did he have to take my puree? Why?”
Finally an interesting and relevant Quick Fire challenge this episode! D.C. has a billion Ethiopian restaurants for anthropological reasons left unexplored and thus the cheftestants were instructed to just make something Ethiopian, anything at all. Ethiopian is some of the best non-cheeseburger food out there – the sour injera bread, bebere, wat, and vegetable stuff are all so unique in flavor, incomparable to any other type of food.
Some of our cheftestants were excited for this challenge, such as Angelo, who impatiently explains that he already knows how to cook such trivialities from his days as a missionary, while others such as Kelly embarrassed themselves by admitting to never having tasted Ethiopian before.
Top Chef Masters champion (and Ethiopian International Man of Mystery) Marcus Sammuelsson was thoughtful and sensual in his velvet blazer, providing intelligent feedback and brooding charisma to the proceedings.
Here’s how he laid it out: Kevin Sbraga’s bland lamb dish, Stephen’s good cabbage/shitty meatball combo, and Alex the Russian’s beef tongue just did not cut the mustard.
But Amanda prepared a goat wat with potatoes that was a big hit! But then she ruined this little bit of goodwill by lashing out sarcastically to the camera for no reason whatsoever. Amanda’s predicament here is that she dispatches sarcasm with no sense of comedic timing and comes off as acrid and semi-delusional.
Finally, although Angelo put together a beautiful wat, drawing high praise from ‘the spy who shagged me’, the winner of the cook-confusing-complex ethnic food challenge was Tiffany, with her goulosh made with Ethiopian spices. Marcus Sammuelsoon kept sticking his fingers back in there for more! So sensual.
So, how was the recycled challenge idea related tangentially to democracy and politics et cetera? The cheftestants pulled knives and chose from 9 boring countries (where was Germany? Where was Korea? Those guys are hilarious. Bratwursts and Kimchi, that’s what the people want) and were told to create a dish from that country to be served to a DIPLOMAT of that particular geographic persuasion.
For some reason which was not really explained, none of them wanted to do Brazil so that was last (what’s up with Brazilian food? Is it all soufflés and desserts and canned beans?). Tiffany picked Mexico first, which confused me until I remembered that she’s from Texas. Amanda ran across the back of the scene, squawking about France and French training and bouf. K. Sbrags went for Indian. Fool! Padma morphs into terribly vengeful Vishnu upon sensing the smallest grain of curry spice. Ed grabs China because, as he explains, he banged a Chinese girl once, so no-brainer there.
As the cooking begins, it becomes clear that Alex the Russian is both feared and hated for his foreign ways and Marxist perversions. Ed squints his eyes reaaaal intense and warns the camera: “He’s a spaz.” It doesn’t get more un-American than that.
Moving forward at a brisk pace, the judging is soon underway at the Meridian House, a gathering place for various dignitaries and ambassadors. This challenge was actually quite entertaining to watch, as the respective representatives from each country weighed in on the dishes with surprising candor. The guy from Spain shat all over Alex’s version of tapas (which involved a small yellow patty cake) as did guest judge Jose Andres, Spanish chef extraordinaire and generally adorable man, who called it a “little nightmare."
Chef Tom Colliccio also got in on the action, and laid the ultimate slow-burn on Angelo after tasting his “Japanese” tuna sashimi: “all of this [shit] just masks the meat”. COLD. Stephen’s Brazilian rice and beans and steak dish played poorly with the crowd also, with the many snobby cultured worldly types remarking in passing how overcooked and passé his food was.
On the other foot, Kelly’s Italian beef carpaccio seemed to do splendidly, as did Kevin’s Indian flavored chicken, and I forgot what Kenny made but likely it was lamb four ways, with four meat-sculptures of each earth element including a working lamb fountain and bust of himself as 'Beast' worked all in lamb.
Amanda made bouf bourginionoinon and was seen briefly in the corner of the screen succumbing finally to her paranoia and launching a furious hail of beef cubes at an invisible enemy from within her chef-fort made of heat pans and sterno canisters.
The good guys were rewarded last night, and the bad guys got their fair dues. Tiffany got the win as well as a special surprise of 10,000 dollars and a lifetime supply of Ethiopian lovers. Alex the tan Russian was exposed for his complete incompetence and sleaziness, but luckily for us, entertainment and ratings and buzzwords matter more to Bravo than artistic integrity or continuity, and the bland and boring Gollum Stephen was bagged up and shipped out in a doggie-bag.
Top Hindus are still reeling from the way Mike Myers poked fun at their religion in The Love Guru, and they fear Reeves' new film Hanuman, in which he'll play Rama, will be another misinformed film about Hinduism.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed tells WENN, "Hindus are concerned. If the makers of this proposed movie intend to base the storyline on the epic Ramayana and make references to it or portray Hindu gods/goddesses in the movie, we would urge the makers to stay true to the story and the spirit of the timeless epic and other Hindu scriptures."
Gary Oldman is also reportedly part of the cast, as is Lagaan star Aamir Khan, who is slated to play Hanuman.
Shooting on the Chuck Russell film is expected to start towards the end of this year (09) in Rajasthan, India.
Zed, who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, adds, "Ramayana is a highly revered scripture of Hinduism. Hollywood is welcome to make a movie about Ramayana but the final product should be the true depiction of it and not a fantasised or a re-imagined version to fit the Hollywood machine, which was likely to hurt the Hindu sentiments.
"Moreover, as Hinduism is largely misunderstood outside India, the distortion would add to the confusion. 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.
"Ramayana is an integral part of Hinduism and was held in such reverence that Hindus believe that simply reading/hearing of it (sic) showered blessings upon the reader/listener."
Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit scripture, which explores various themes, including human existence and concept of dharma, among other leading religious and philosophical issues.
Newlyweds Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar could face three years in jail after being accused of breaching Hindu customs with their Indian wedding last month.
Vishnu Khandelwal--who has never met the couple--has begun legal proceedings against the newly married pair insisting they broke with Hindu law. And he claims Arun's father, Vinod Nayar, has offered to testify against his son and daughter-in-law.
The pair have been disowned by Nayar Sr. after he claimed he and his second wife Joanne were made to feel like "second class citizens" at the ceremony.
And despite legal experts claiming it is unlikely the couple would end up in jail, the prosecution will use their £2 million ($3.9 million) magazine deal with Hello! as evidence against the couple.
Prosecuting lawyer Hm Saraswat says, "An arrest warrant could be issued for Arun and Liz as soon as the prosecution has made its case--either because they are summoned to give evidence or they have been found guilty.
"We have our own religious beliefs including that the bride and bridegroom must behave soberly, and in this case they have both taken drink. Pictures of kissing in Hello! magazine is against our culture. We are using the Hello! pictures to prove our case.
"Vinod Nayer told me that when Arun Nayer and Liz Hurley came to the marriage mandap (marriage site), Arun Nayer left his footwear outside the mandap but Liz Hurley refused to remove her footwear.
"When we worship we must remove our shoes because we pray to God and at that time shoes should be removed.
"Our intention is to prove that the proceedings adopted by both the accused for their marriage is against our Hindu rites."
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