Source: Hindu American Foundation
Bowing to continued pressure from the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) demanding a pre-screening of the film, "The Love Guru,", Paramount Pictures requested the Foundation to view the film just hours before its release last night. More than two dozen members of the local Hindu community gathered at a movie theater in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, along with Foundation leaders to take in a screening of the film and then met to fill out a special survey and offer comments and criticisms. HAF agreed to view the film, even at the eleventh hour, to be able to inform the Hindu American community in light of concerned inquiries that have been pouring into its national headquarters.
The film depicts Mike Myers as the "Guru Pitka," an American raised in India to missionary parents, who establishes an ashram in California seeking fortune as a self-help expert. The story follows the character as he seeks fame in bringing together a hockey player and his estranged wife. The film is portrayed as a satirical spoof of self-help coaches, referring to Deepak Chopra several times, but the film's main character is clearly inspired by Hindu spiritual leaders from India gleaned from the attire and mannerisms of Myers' character.
"The film was vulgar, crude and, in the opinion of many of our attendees, too often tasteless in its puerile choice of humor," said Aseem Shukla, member of the Foundation's Board of Directors. "Very few of the Hindus viewing the film, however, found it overtly anti-Hindu or mean-spirited, indeed no Hindu or Sanskrit terms beyond 'guru' or 'ashram' are ever used in the film. But given the costumes and overall concept of the film, Paramount would have done well to issue a disclaimer in the opening sequence that the characters and events are not based on Hindu spiritual masters."