A sex scene in the hit movie Oppenheimer, which features a line from Hindu holy scripture Bhagavad Gita, has sparked anger in India with calls for it to be deleted out of respect for what critics called the “religious beliefs of a billion tolerant Hindus.”
Oppenheimer’s plot is centred on the development of the first atomic bomb, starring Cillian Murphy as Robert Oppenheimer and Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock. It is directed by Christopher Nolan.
During the scene in question, Pugh’s character Tatlock stops during intercourse and picks up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and asks Murphy, in the lead role of Dr. J Robert Oppenheimer, to read from it.
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds,” Oppenheimer reads as he resumes intercourse with Jean.
The Bhagavad Gita is thought to have been composed thousands of years ago as part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. It has teachings said to have been given by Lord Sri Krishna to Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers in the Mahabharata.
The scene has caused outrage among protesting Hindu groups, with a politician from India’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calling the film a “disturbing attack on Hinduism.”
He accused it of being “part of a larger conspiracy by anti-Hindu forces.”
Robert Downey, Jr., who also stars in the movie, has previously sparked controversy of his own by stating that working on Oppenheimer confirmed his belief that men start wars and the planet should be ruled by women, as Breitbart News reported.
On Saturday, Variety reports India’s information commissioner Uday Mahurkar issued a statement about the film, saying the scene was “a direct assault on religious beliefs of a billion tolerant Hindus”, likening it to “waging a war on the Hindu community”.
“We believe that if you remove this scene and do the needful to win hearts of Hindus, it will go a long way to establish your credentials as a sensitised human being and gift you friendship of billions of nice people,” he added.
The federal minister of information and broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, has also expressed displeasure over the scene.
According to India Today, sources close to the minister revealed he asked the censor board to delete the scene from the movie.
Oppenheimer opened in theaters on Friday.