Following the theatrical release of filmmaker Christopher Nolan's much-awaited biographical drama 'Oppenheimer', the film is scripting new records for itself in India. But, unfortunately, a section of the audience has been left baffled and fuming over a disrespectful scene in the film involving lead actor Cillian Murphy and co-star Florence Pugh, engaging in a sexual act as Oppenheimer and his psychiatrist Jean Tatlock, while quoting verses from the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.
While netizens have been up in arms against the sheer disrespect and white privilege doled by Nolan, Indian bureaucrats and influential figures have also taken cognisance of the matter.
On Sunday, an open letter was written to the filmmaker by Uday Mahurkar, the founder of Save Culture Save India (SCSI) Foundation, which was also shared on the latter's Twitter profile.
The contents of the letter read as follows,
"Dear Mr Christopher Nolan,
Namaste from Save Culture Save India Foundation.
It has come to our notice that the movie Oppenheimer contains a scene which make a scathing attack on Hinduism.
As per social media reports, a scene in the movie shows a woman makes 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 hands seems to be adjusting the position of their reproductive organs.
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.
We do not know the motivation and logic behind this unnecessary scene on life of a scientist. But this is a direct assault on religious beliefs of a billion tolerant Hindus, rather it amounts to waging a war on the Hindu community and almost appears to be part of a larger conspiracy by anti-Hindu forces.
We are living in a very polarised world. The agencies, media, politics and even your Hollywood film industry is very sensitive about the fact that Quran and Islam is not depicted in any manner that may offend the value system of a common Muslim, even if you make something based on Islamist terrorism. There is a term that has become popular for those who attempt to cross this red line - Islamophobia.
Why should not the same courtesy be also extended to Hindus?
You have great admiration in India for your art of filmmaking. We believe that if you remove this scene and do the needful to win hearts of Hindus, it will go a long way to establish your credentials as a sensitized human being and gift you friendship of billions of nice people.
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.
Should you choose to ignore this appeal it would be deemed as a deliberate assault on Indian civilisation.
Eagerly await needful action."
Based on the life of revered scientist J Robert Oppenheimer, who invented the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer also stars Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Benny Safdie, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Alden Ehrenreich, Josh Peck, Jason Clarke, David Dastmalchian, Alex Wolff, James D'Arcy, and many others.
The biographical book 'American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer' by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin, which was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize, served as the inspiration for the movie. The film was released on July 21, 2023.