Although DreamWorks Animation SKG has twice renamed the working title of their “Monkeys” film, but Hindus are still concerned on how the Hollywood will handle their sacred scripture Ramayana, which is said to be the inspiration behind it.
Glendale (California, USA) based DreamWorks, in a release on September 9, said that Kevin Lima (Enchanted) will direct upcoming feature film “Mumbai Musical, “the studio’s first-ever Bollywood-style animated musical adventure inspired by the great Indian epic tale of The Ramayana but told from the point of view of the monkeys”. It was earlier titled as “Monkeys of Mumbai” and “Monkeys of Bollywood”. It will be released on December 19, 2015.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that since the movie announcement claimed it to be “inspired” by timeless epic Ramayana and Ramayana being a highly revered scripture of Hinduism, film should stay true to the story and the spirit of Ramayana. Insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted 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 and careful handling of Hindu concepts and terminology. 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 just for mercantile greed. Hollywood/Bollywood were welcome to make movies about Ramayana 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 Ramayana to fit the Hollywood/Bollywood machine was likely to hurt the Hindu sentiment as Ramayana 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. Rama, the hero of Ramayana, was incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and was worshipped by Hindus.
Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly, said, Rajan Zed adding, no faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered.
Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit scripture that consists of 24,000 stanzas, explores various themes, including human existence, concept of dharma, etc.