Oppenheimer sex scene sparks controversy among India’s Hindu right-wing groups

Furore revolves around a scene involving one of Hinduism’s holiest scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita

Peony Hirwani
Sunday 30 July 2023 09:22 BST
Cillian Murphy says it 'took a toll' playing scientist J Robert Oppenheimer

A sex scene in Oppenheimer involving Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh has sparked controversy among Hindu right-wing groups in India.

During the scene, Pugh’s character Jean Tatlock stops during intercourse and picks up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s holiest scriptures, and asks Murphy, who plays the lead role of Dr J Robert Oppenheimer, to read from it.

“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds,” Oppenheimer reads from the scripture, 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 in Oppenheimer has caused outrage among the Hindu ring-wing 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”.

On Saturday (22 July) India’s information commissioner Uday Mahurkar issued a statement about the film, saying that 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 that he asked the censor board to delete the scene from the movie.

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Many other right-wing supporters have also called for a boycott of Oppenheimer in India.

Oppenheimer has been released as a U/A certified film by India’s Central Board of Film Certification, which means the movie contains moderate adult themes and can be watched by a child below 12 years of age under parental guidance.

In other nations, Christopher Nolan’s film has been released under the R-rated category.

Find The Independent’s review of Oppenheimer here. Follow along with the latest updates concerning Barbie and Oppenheimer here.

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