Mystic masseur

Hindus worldwide or at least those in a small office in Arizona have expressed outrage over the upcoming film The Waiting City, starring Indian-origin actress Radha Mitchell with Joel Edgerton and directed by Claire McCarthy.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed expressed grave concern over the fact that the film is purportedly about an Australian couple who encounter Indian mysticism in Calcutta, and find themselves pulled in opposite directions thus posing a real threat to their marriage.

Zed, who is the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that Hindu mysticism is beneficial to true seekers and should not be portrayed in a negative light. Such a portrayal, Zed said in a statement today, could deeply hurt the sentiments of the four Hindus who work in his Arizona office.

Zed also pointed with considerable concern to the fact that London based actor Samrat Chakrabarti will play the role of Krishna in the film. The acclaimed statesman pointed out that Krishna is much beloved of the billions of Hindus he wishes he spoke for, and warned that the avtaar of Vishnu should not be portrayed in negative light.

The acclaimed statesman has offered to work with the film-makers on the script to ensure that the portrayal of the Vaishnavite deity was fully in accordance with Hindu sentiments.

Actually, I’m a liar — Rajan Zed never wrote that. I did.

But that is likely because Zed was — as is his recent practice — in such a hurry to dash off his daily statement he never read up about the movie to spot the possibilities for his brand of controversy.

So this is the statement he did put out [I am not making a word of this one up, honest]:

Hollywood actress Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill), who was in India sometime back shooting for Australian film ”The Waiting City”, feels working in India was “like a fish out of water”.

When asked about working in India, she is quoted as saying: “…you feel kind of like a fish out of water and that’s what’s great about India. It’s such a shocking shift, that you are very much just in the moment.”

Mitchell, 35, is also producer of “The Waiting City” (Claire McCarthy), a drama about an Australian couple’s journey to Kolkata (India), which is premiering in Toronto Film Festival on September 17. It was shot in and outside Kolkata at Sealdah Station, Behala, Barrackpore, etc. Her futuristic “Surrogates” (Jonathan Mostow) with Bruce Willis opens on September 25. She is also acting in action film “The Crazies” (Breck Eisner), releasing on February 26 next. Her “Thick as Thieves” (Mimi Leder) with Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas, was completed few months back.

Because of her Hindu upbringing and her interest in yoga, acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has asked Mitchell to explore the rich philosophical thought and spirituality which Hinduism offers. Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, offered to supply a set of Hindu scriptures to help her in comprehensive understanding of its philosophy. If Mitchell needed any assistance in her study of Hinduism, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to share their knowledge, Rajan Zed added in a statement in Nevada (USA) today.

Born in Melbourne (Australia) as Radha Rani Amber Indigo Anunda Mitchell, she reportedly had a spiritually inclined upbringing in Hindu-Vaishnavite tradition by her parents, and is a vegetarian and practices yoga. Her Italian model mother reportedly became infatuated with India in the early 1970s. Mitchell reportedly dropped “Rani” out of her name on first day at school, when someone asked if her name was “macaroni”. In her name, “Radha” means “Lord Krishna’s beloved”, “Rani” means “queen” and “Anunda” means “bliss”.

Seems to me in recent times, Zed has volunteered to help Lindsay Lohan, Julia Roberts and now the actress otherwise known as ‘Lord Krishna’s beloved queen bliss’ by sharing his knowledge and spamming them with sets of Hindu scriptures. If he isn’t careful, he’s going to get into trouble for stalking — and then where would I go for my daily dose of laughter?

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13 thoughts on “Mystic masseur

  1. Isn’t it fun? 20 or so years ago, anyone could get away with the chilled-monkey-brains-for-dessert-scene like in the Indiana Jones movie and the whole of India would have clapped their hands in glee because Amrish Puri got to play the bad guy in a Hollywood movie. Now, not a person can speak two words before being rounded up in a controversy. Long live digital media! Long live righteous outrage!

    • And that, my dear goddess, has exactly what connection to these outpourings from Mr Zed? Or alternately, where in my writings have I suggested that Hindus should not protest genuine wrongs?

      Let’s put it this way: I don’t like statements like this. I have two options. One: Prem says… and the other is, “Hindus say Rajan Zed is making them look ridiculous…”

      Which is the right way to go, please? Am I allowed to set myself up as a spokesman for Hindus, both lay and goddesses, and say what I please without possibility of protest?

      • I’ve been off the blogsphere for a while, sorry for the late response.

        I think the comment was not clear enough. I was referring to the righteous outrage of the spokespersons of Hinduism (or any other group, doesn’t really matter) not to your post itself.

        I totally agree with you about the daily laughs bit, though. Sorry for not being more clear.

  2. Prem
    Too harsh mate-Stick to cricket-What enamored to you writings was your marvellous piece of literature of the Eden Gardens test match of 2001-From that time I was a fan of your cricket columns-
    but with this piece you have taken it to the extreme-you too belong to the same group of journalists who have to indulge in Hindu bashing from time to time to prove their secular credentials
    THere is a bloke called Zakir Naik of Peace TV-he openly advocates denial of rights to non muslims,and wants apostates killed,does not want women to work-basically he advocates a softer version of Taliban-he quotes randomly from all the scriptures and considers himself to be a Muslim scholar of the highest pedigree-it is easy to find youtube links of his speeches
    I never saw a word of criticism,condemnation from you on this man-you cant bcos you fear that if you utter a word then who knows there may be a fatwa against you-Rajan Zed seems to be your favorite punch bag-

    • This is the second time I am doing this. The comment itself is so enticing that I can not wait for Prem to comment and I am taking the initiative here 🙂
      I have been following all the posts about Rajan Zed by Prem and if you would care to go back to some of the initial posts, the main reason of this ‘punching’ is the claim that this Zed fellow takes – that he is the spokesperson of the Hindus!!! I mean WTF!!!
      First, who gave him the right to speak for all hindus?! If he gets offended by anything, let him speak for himself – why pull a Hindu like me into this absurd and stupid way of gathering some limelight?
      And now regarding the muslim version of Zed – the Zakir guy, he is not speaking for me or any other Hindu. He considers himself as a spokesperson of Muslims, and as my very close muslim friends gets irritated by this buffoon for hijacking the ‘muslim voice’, the same gets me fired up when somebody does that to my beliefs.
      And, dont you think supporting and not deriding this “oh! I am hurt, please be sensitive to our feelings” stand will make us a laughing stock of the world rather than getting us any respect – if that is what that Zed fellow is looking for in the first place!
      Finally, I am so done with these stupid illogical arguments that we people keep coming up with – Oh! why just deride the hindu guy, why not that Muslim cleric, tell M F Hussien to paint Allah in nude, and this “you cant bcos you fear that if you utter a word then who knows there may be a fatwa against you” takes the icing! Why do we always have to point at other belief systems before looking at our own critically? and what is so wrong in looking within and cleansing self?!

      • HI Naveen
        Your quote below
        Why do we always have to point at other belief systems before looking at our own critically? and what is so wrong in looking within and cleansing self?!

        I never did-I just criticised two people each one of them claim to represent a major religion-Prem has devoted acres of cyberspace to deride Rajan Zed but nothing against another

        My view is that a journalist should have balanced views-Pseudo secularism of journalists and Indian media in general hurts me-they are quick to jump to establish their lofty secular credentials when criticizing Hindu behaviour but at the same time shirk away from their responsibility of calling of spade a spade when it comes to commenting the behavior of their other country men -Why such silence?

        • Naveen pretty much said what I would have. So I’ll just add this: as a Hindu I am concerned with how my religion, my thoughts, are represented to the world. So it ticks me off if a self-proclaimed spokesman, purporting to speak on my behalf and that of my fellow-religionists, presents the impression that we are a bunch of immature dorks. Hence, I object. Why do I care what the representative of some other religion does, as long as he is not in my face?

          If my parents squabble loudly, and in a manner not in consonance with civilized behavior, I will tick them off, because it matters to me how my family, and by extension I, am perceived. If my neighbors are in the habit of fighting loudly and behaving in unpleasant fashion, I am not as apt to walk in there and talk to them about good manners.

          But yeah, when say the actions of Pakistan, for instance, have impinged on my tranquility and that of my country, I *have* written strongly about it and will continue to.

          I have neither the need, nor desire, to establish any credentials, secular or otherwise. I write what I think or what at any point I want to [what, if I write Mahabharata in pov format I am trying to establish my Hindu credentials? Or because that version differs from the accepted text I am trying to undermine the religious heritage?], and leave it to readers to accept what they will and reject what they want.

          Having said all that, one question for you — do you seriously take Rajan Zed as your spokesperson? If yes, why? How do you pick a spokesperson, and what do you expect him to do for you and for your religion [would a good example of that expectation be, say, making stupid remarks like “Hindus call for a Bollywood category in the Oscars?]. If on the contrary you do not accept Zed as your spokesperson, what is your problem with what I wrote, and why is it that I cannot talk of my own without also launching attacks on others?

          • You are right Prem-I am sorry but I jumped to write without going through all your columns about the same topic-I never felt Rajan Zed represented all the Hindus-as long he quotes attaching his name to his words I dont have a problem-
            Your quote about family quarrels and you not interfering if neighbors quarrel may not be most appropriate here-Zakir Naik is an Indian-lives in Bombay and I have not seen many journalists writing articles criticizing his nonsensical rant even though he openly advocates voilence.The same Indian journalists quickly latch on to any slip ups from Hindu leaders.

            • No apologies required, you had a thought, I responded, is all. The difference here is, Naik rants, but his rants are seen as just that — the ravings of an individual.

              To repeat my earlier point, I have no problem with Rajan Zed putting out all the press statements he wants to, on anything under the sun no matter how ridiculous. I ask only that he do so in his personal capacity, without abrogating to himself the title of “Hindu spokesman”.

              Unfortunately, every press release of his begins with the words “Acclaimed Hindu spokesman/statesman Rajan Zed…” and that for me is not acceptable.

  3. dude, harsh. he’s not as bad as u say. plus, he’s doing what everybody does in India, too. jump on the bandwagon and hope that u get noticed.

    • Right on, dude, that is exactly what he is doing. And I have no problem with that. Rajan Zed can say or do whatever the heck he wants. I only have a problem when he says “Hindus say…”, not when he says “Rajan Zed says…”

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