Holy drama unfolds: Hollywood’s Oppenheimer sparks controversy with sacred script sex scene (video)

Matt Damon, from left, Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh at the premiere of Oppenheimer on Thursday, July 13, 2023 in London. Pitcure courtesy of AP.

The latest Hollywood movie Oppenheimer has been accused of being blasphemous after a sex scene in the blockbuster used a line of holy scripture.

The movie, featuring a star-studded cast including Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, and Emily Blunt, lit the blue touch paper of controversy in India.

The Hollywood blockbuster has been accused of crossing sacred boundaries by using a line from a Hindu holy scripture during an intimate sex scene. The movie’s explosive debut in India left audiences divided, with some praising its brilliance while others fumed at its alleged blasphemy.

The biographical drama delves into the life of renowned US physicist Robert Oppenheimer, portrayed by the enigmatic Murphy. As the film opened to rave reviews in India, it struck a chord with the audience, raking in an impressive US$3 million in just two days at the box office. However, amidst the accolades, a particular scene featuring Oppenheimer and his lover, Jean Tatlock, played by Pugh, left the nation seething.

In the controversial sequence, Tatlock opens a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a revered Hindu religious text, and requests Oppenheimer to read from it. What followed was a shocker – Murphy’s character reads the line…

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

It is a profound quote famously recalled by Oppenheimer during the detonation of the first nuclear bomb.

Uday Mahurkar, a senior official at the government’s Central Information Commission, condemned the movie in a letter addressed to the film’s director, Christopher Nolan. He said…

“This is a direct assault on religious beliefs of a billion tolerant Hindus.”

The sentiment echoed across social media platforms with hashtags such as #BoycottOppenheimer and #RespectHinduCulture trending on Twitter.

Holy drama unfolds: Hollywood's Oppenheimer sparks controversy with sacred script sex scene (video) | News by Thaiger
Cillian Murphy as Dr J. Robert Oppenheimer left, and physicist Dr J. Robert Oppenheimer on the testing ground for the atomic bomb near Alamogordo, N.M., on Sept. 9, 1945. Pictures courtesy of AP.

The controversy spurred passionate reactions from the Hindu community, with many expressing anger and dismay at what they perceived as blatant disrespect. Harris Sultan, an author, lamented that Hindus were left “angry and perplexed” by the film’s audacious depiction.

Adding fuel to the fire, the prominent right-wing Hindu organization, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, claimed that the movie aimed to “launch an attack” on Hindu society and demanded the contentious scene be excised.

Spokesperson Vinod Bansal urged the makers of Oppenheimer to tender an apology to the Hindu community worldwide, whose sentiments they allege have been gravely wounded, Bangkok Post reported.

India’s population comprises a majority of Hindus, but various religious and cultural minorities, including Muslims, constitute significant portions of society. Amidst the rising tide of religious intolerance, critics point fingers at the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in power since 2014.

As the fiery debate rages on, Oppenheimer has become a lightning rod for discussions on the thin line between artistic expression and respect for religious sentiments. Will the controversy overshadow the movie’s triumphant reception, or will it eventually fizzle out, leaving behind the echoes of an impassioned clash of opinions? Time will tell.


World News

Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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