We are deeply offended by a scene in the Christopher Nolan’s Hollywood movie Oppenheimer that shows the eponymous character having sex while reading out verses from The Bhagavad Gita, one of the most revered and sacred Hindu scriptures. As representatives of one of the oldest and the largest American Hindu organizations, we strongly urge the producers of the film and the distributor, Universal Pictures to remove the shloka from the movie.
A shloka is a sacred verse from Hindu scriptures that carries profound spiritual significance to the Hindus. It is not merely a piece of background music to be used for dramatic effect in a movie; rather, it holds immense religious sanctity and is meant to be recited with utmost respect and reverence. By using the shloka from the Bhagavad Gita without the appropriate religious context, the producers of “Oppenheimer” are trivializing and commodifying a central aspect of Hindu spirituality. This not only shows a lack of understanding of the cultural and religious sensitivities of the Hindu community but also amounts to cultural appropriation, which is deeply disrespectful and offensive.
As consumers and supporters of the entertainment industry, we call on the producers of “Oppenheimer” to uphold the principles of cultural sensitivity and religious respect by promptly removing the shloka from the movie. AHAD is launching an online campaign to advocate for the removal of the scene.