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'Oppenheimer' sparks online outrage in India due to Hindu scripture scene

The scene features the protagonist reciting a verse from the Bhagwad Gita, considered the holiest of Hindu scripture, just before sexual intercourse.

Reuters
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Cast members, Director Christopher Nolan and his wife Emma Thomas, and Producer Charles Roven pose during a photocall before the premiere of the film 'Oppenheimer' at the Grand Rex in Paris, France, July 11. Photo: Reuters
Cast members, Director Christopher Nolan and his wife Emma Thomas, and Producer Charles Roven pose during a photocall before the premiere of the film 'Oppenheimer' at the Grand Rex in Paris, France, July 11. Photo: Reuters

A scene featuring a holy Hindu scripture in nuclear arms biopic "Oppenheimer" has drawn social media fire in India, with many users saying they would boycott the movie because of what one nationalist group called a "scathing attack on Hinduism".

The scene features the protagonist reciting a verse from the Bhagwad Gita, considered the holiest of Hindu scripture, just before sexual intercourse.

The film, which was released in India on Friday with much fanfare, was rated by the Central Board of Film Certification U/A, which recommends parental guidance for viewers aged under 12.

"This should be investigated... on an urgent basis and those involved should be severely punished," the nationalist "Save Culture Save India Foundation" said in a press release. Comments by the organisation's founder, government official Uday Mahurkar, condemning the movie were also retweeted more than 3,600 times.

Universal Pictures India, the local unit of the film's producers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Officials from the film certification board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The movie, directed by Christopher Nolan, stars Cillian Murphy as US physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the creation of the atomic bomb during World War Two.

It grossed around US$7.33 million (about RM33.5 million) since Friday, Warner Bros Discovery, which released the film in India, said on Monday.

Indian cinemas, which like their global peers are struggling to attract viewers away from online streaming services, are banking on "Oppenheimer" and "Barbie" to boost earnings especially after a string of Bollywood flops kept audiences away.

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