HAF Critical of Paramount Picture Refusal for Pre-Screening of "The Love Guru"

Washington, DC (June 13, 2008). The Hindu American Foundation criticized today a decision by Paramount Pictures to refuse an advance screening of its 2008 movie, "The Love Guru." The Love Guru, scheduled to be released nationally on June 20, stars Mike Myers and depicts an American guru who tries to break into the self-help business using techniques honed after growing up in an ashram in India. The comedy's tagline "His Karma is Huge" and trailers appear to mock Hindu practice and spirituality, and have prompted national protest.

After receiving numerous complaints from constituents across the nation, the Hindu American Foundation requested a pre-screening of the film. The Foundation had hoped to reserve judgment on the content of the film until viewing the film. The actions of the Hindu American Foundation corresponded with a campaign led by other Hindu organizations to pre-screen the film. In response, Paramount Pictures, through its Senior Vice President National Publicity, Jessica Rovins, committed in March to showing the film stating that, "It is our full intention to screen the film for Rajan Zed [Nevada-based Hindu chaplain] and other Hindu leaders in the U.S. once we have a finished print."

Now only seven days shy of the opening, it is clear that Paramount Pictures has reneged on its promise. The company has not only refused to pre-screen the film, but has failed to respond to direct and repeated queries by the Foundation and other groups. HAF's Director of Public Policy, Ishani Chowdhury, stated, "It is a real tragedy that Paramount Pictures would dismiss the reasonable requests of a 2 million strong community."

Foundation leaders maintain that the decision to refuse an advance screening, and retract a previously made commitment reflects the studio's disregard for the Hindu American community.

"Pre-screenings of films to potentially sensitive audiences is a common practice with much precedence," said Suhag Shukla, Esq., HAF's Legal Counsel. "Advance screenings of Mel Gibson's 2004 'Passion of the Christ,' for example, were offered to members of the clergy and others. Paramount's refusal to do so here is not merely supercilious; it is blatant discrimination against Hindu Americans."

The film was premiered in Los Angeles on June 11.

For further information: Please contact HAF.