Ahoy! More controversy surrounding ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ film! OK there wasn’t really much controversy before per se, unless you want to count the crime of we yogadorks not making it down to the east village to gawk at moviestars. (thank goodness there are pics).
So what’s the problem? It all comes down to the Ashram, folks. While NY hipsters and yippies haven’t gone into a tizzy about east village representation (yet) some members of Hinduism and Indian culture are already calling sacrilege ahead of the Sept filming in their country. And who’s the loudest fusspot? Why, our familiar outspoken friend Rajan Zed, who is in fact an American citizen keeping it real in the states as head of the Universal Society of Hinduism.
“Hinduism and its belief system are quite often misunderstood and incorrectly depicted outside India,” says Zed. Needless to say he is not so confident in moviestar Roberts’ pious skills and Hollywood’s ability to prove him wrong:
“The people of India will be anxious to see how perfectly Roberts does her job of cleaning ashram floors as a part of her devotional duty, trying to recite 182-verse Sanskrit chant, and going through grueling hours of meditation, while being feasted on by mosquitoes,” Rajan Zed told the New York Post.
…followed by maniacal laughter and a glint in his monocle. (just kidding!)
So, he read the book! Was Gilbert perfect in her Ashram duties? Is that what the book is about? It doesn’t seem to matter really. Gilbert will be judged (again) through Julia Roberts’ portrayal, who will then be judged as an American actress which will then spiral into Western botching of Eastern cultures and sacred practices. Might as well just give up now!
At least they made efforts for authenticity in the casting call, right?
As far as India goes, there have already been reports from the film’s producers that they will not be shooting in the Ashram Gilbert studied in, but one that’s closer to Delhi’s airport, which, rumor has it, was due to Julia Roberts’ preference to keep accommodations and shooting locations in close proximity. The only reason? We don’t know.
We think the skepticism may be premature, but the book definitely received some similar lashing from critics who called it narcissistic and lacking gravitas. Stay tuned for more exciting blasphemy!