Controversy Erupts Over ‘Oppenheimer’ Sex Scene and Hindu Text Usage


The movie “Oppenheimer” has become a subject of controversy and outrage among some members of the Hindu community due to a particular scene involving the use of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s most revered scriptures. The film, which focuses on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man responsible for overseeing the development of the atomic bomb, has been criticized for what is seen as a disrespectful portrayal of the sacred text.

The scene in question features actress Florence Pugh playing the character of Jean Tatlock and actor Cillian Murphy portraying J. Robert Oppenheimer. In this scene, Murphy’s character recites lines from the Bhagavad Gita before engaging in a sexual encounter. This use of the sacred scripture in a sexual context has been met with strong disapproval from some members of the Hindu community, who view it as a disrespectful and inappropriate portrayal of their religious beliefs.

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Uday Mahurkar, the founder of the Save Culture Save India (SCSI) Foundation, has been one of the vocal critics of the film’s portrayal of Hinduism. He argues that the use of the Bhagavad Gita in such a manner amounts to a “scathing attack on Hinduism” and has called on the filmmakers to remove the scene from the movie. Mahurkar’s sentiments have been echoed by others who feel that the use of the sacred text in a sex scene is not only disrespectful but also undermines the sanctity of the scripture.

The SCSI Foundation has taken a strong stance on this issue, urging filmmakers to consider the sentiments of over a billion Hindus worldwide and to uphold the dignity of their revered scripture. Mahurkar’s tweet, expressing concern that the scene could be perceived as an intentional assault on Indian civilization, reflects the depth of the sentiment among some Hindus who view the Bhagavad Gita with great reverence.

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However, not everyone within the Hindu community shares the same level of outrage over the scene. Ramya Ramakrishnan, the community outreach director of the Hindu American Foundation, expressed her disappointment with the portrayal but did not find it offensive. She acknowledged that while the scene lacked context, it could have been better explained to provide a deeper understanding of the significance of the Bhagavad Gita in Oppenheimer’s life.

The controversy surrounding the film has sparked discussions about artistic expression, religious sensitivity, and cultural understanding. Some argue that filmmakers should be mindful of how they portray religious texts and symbols to avoid unintentionally offending or misrepresenting faiths. Others believe that creative works should have the freedom to explore different themes and ideas, even if they touch on religious subjects, as long as it is done with respect and proper context.

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Despite the backlash, “Oppenheimer” has seen significant success at the box office, grossing over $80 million in the U.S. and Canada and an additional $93 million internationally. The film’s commercial success, especially in India, where it outperformed the movie “Barbie,” indicates that the controversy has not had a major impact on its overall reception.

In conclusion, the movie “Oppenheimer” has faced criticism from some members of the Hindu community for its use of the Bhagavad Gita in a sex scene. The controversy has sparked discussions about religious sensitivity and the portrayal of sacred texts in creative works. While the filmmakers have found commercial success, the debate over the scene’s appropriateness continues to raise questions about the boundaries of artistic expression and cultural understanding.