The World Vaishnava Association ("WVA"), a coalition of over 30 religious organizations, is demanding an apology from Paramount Pictures over a great offence that the filmmaker has committed against the world's 600 million Hindus. The WVA says that Paramount's depictions of holy deities in the film "Lara Croft - Tomb Raider" are tantamount to religious bigotry and prejudice. The WVA is also demanding that the offending scenes be cut from all versions of the film.

"Paramount has demonstrated its willingness to sacrifice religious and cultural sensitivities for hard cash at the box office," said Syama Sundar, the press secretary of the WVA. "They have profited handsomely by offending Hindus. So we are calling upon all Hindus, and other worldwide organizations who cannot tolerate religious bigotry, to join our protest to uphold the religious dignity of our great spiritual tradition."

Much of the film was shot at the famous Angkor Wat, the ancient Hindu temple complex in Cambodia. The complex is full of artwork depicting scenes of the Puranas, including the earthly pastimes of Lord Rama, an incarnation of God, who engaged an army of monkey warriors to defeat a great demon called Ravana. These warriors are held sacred by Hindus as worshipable devotees and their leader, Hanuman, is worshiped in temples all over India and the world. Paramount Pictures has the statues of the monkey soldiers inside the temple become demons who spring to life to fight the leading lady of the movie, Lara Croft. She single-handedly blows the monkey warriors to pieces with guns blazing.

"The scenes of these devotees of God being depicted as demons and being killed are extremely offensive to Hindus, and we strongly protest against this abhorrent abuse of our sacred culture," added Syama Sundar. "We have expressed our outrage in a letter to Sherry Lansing, the chairman of Paramount. If the film maker does not apologize and remove the scenes from the film immediately, we will have no choice but to seek legal redress."

Contact: Syama Sundar
Press Secretary
World Vaishnava Association
Tel: (805) 986-3557
e-mail: [email protected]

Encl. Copy of Letter to Paramount Pictures

News report from AFP on the Tomb Raiders/WVA


WVA Home Page

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