Indiana Jones the Movie, Analysis of Hinduism

rough copy : indiana jones temple of doom movie review in relation to hinduism. what it got right, wrong and why Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, is known as a famous character protagonist of his own movie, television, and comic book franchise: known for his love of adventure and signature crack of his whip makes for a good time at the cinema, and does well at the box office. In his first ever on screen full feature movie adventure “Indiana Jones: The temple of doom” directed by Steven Spielberg, and produced by George Lucas “Indie” travels to the great vastness known as Asia, specifically the nation of India, or what’s depicted as India anyways.
Within the first 10 minutes the vague credibility of the film goes downhill and go for the worst. In most cases to the untrained eye, the story line still looks accurate, but with any, even basic prior knowledge the errors are easily apparent. While many parts of the movie are relatively close to real Hindu life in India, like: the presence of a Thugee Cult, the government in India at which the time in the movie takes place (set in 1935), and the religious and political structure of India. Besides these components most other depictions involving India or Hinduism, provide false facts.
In my opinion three of the most significant wrong-doings in the film are: the falsified history of Kali, the inappropriate religious/divine being shrines and temples, and most of all the location of the film that creates the religious basis for the entire movie. The question to be asked in this instance is did the producer, George Lucas make these religious aspect errors by lack of research and investment, or intentionally? The stereotyping of Hinduism in this movie is inaccurate and offensive to Hindu culture. This movie, though action packed and entertaining, has many easily visible faults.

The first, which you notice within the first scenes is the false location of the movie. Even though the location is not directly in violation of Hinduism, and doesn’t affect the ability to create realism within the film, it dies set the bases of all the Hindu practices, and is the cause of most other wrong-doings in the movie. Before the movie even began shooting, it, even though uncommonly known to the public, had the script run by the Indian government (the most Hindu rich nation in the world, and the basis of the movie) and had it’s filming abilities in the country suspended, and ltimately got the producer and film team banned from the country. Therefore the actual filming of the movie took place in Sri Lanka and Brazil. The film was banned on grounds of injustice of the culture, the script depicting all of the Hindu nature as a demon-like paralleled to the Thugee cult, which is greatly untrue. Thus making the location the basis for the injustice of the film. The second most significant error made in the film of my opinion is the story/ history of Kali.
Kali, better known as the goddess Parvati, the mother goddess of Hinduism and leader of the shakti energy path and consort of Shiva. One of her many forms is Kali, along with Durga and many others. Kali is the fierce destroyer of evil, and the center item of worship in the Thugee cult. The errors involving Kali include instances like: in the scene after the battle of Indiana Jones and the Thugee cult leader on the destroyed bridge over the chasm, Indie states (right before sending his opponent to his death) “You can burn with Kali in hell”.
This statement raises two problems; the first being the concept of hell, and Hindu no matter which yoga path, theistic or non-theistic, does not believe in the concept of hell or place of eternal evil damnation, but only in reincarnation and achieving moksha. The second being that if there was a hell or place of evil, the fact that Kali belongs there or that Kali is viewed as “bad”. Kali is the fierce destroyer of evil, and protector of the good, deserving great appreciation. (Even if she doesn’t look so good with her mask of ugliness, you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover)
The last, and one of the most blatantly ridiculous mistakes made within the movie is the false/wrongly used religious and divine shrines and statues. Hindu’s use deity statues and shrines to give thanks or “puja” to the deities. These statues can range from depictions of Shiva to Ganesha or any of the other three million deities. The mistakes made under this category vary, but the most common are the use of statuettes from other religions, fake/ made up gods, or use of statues that are not gods.
Examples of this are in the scenes in the Thugee cults “lair” or temple, where they actually use Mayan deity sculptures in place of Kali sculptures, most likely to depicted as a more ferocious character. This affects the whole layout of the temple, and the Thugee ceremony no longer has any remote resemblance to that of a genuine Thugee ceremony. Thus adding to the horrifying action but tremendous inaccuracy of the movie. And unfortunately this only begins the immense amount of inaccuracies within the film. The extent of the true accuracy in the movie is quite small to what someone would expect.
So little is accurate you have to search for factual information, and give pity for the producer, almost like saying “at least you tried”, and instead of giving him a gold star he gets a sort of cheesy smiley face sticker that no one really wants as a reward. The three most significant true to life facts, I scraped together from the film are as follows: the basis of the Thugee cult, India’s depicted government at the time (1935), and the religious and political structure in the movie (federal, and municipal).
The main type pf Hinduism displayed in the movie was that of a cult in asia from the early 1400’s to the late 1830’s called the thugees. This cult was never recognized as an actual part of the Hindu religion, and was suppressed by the British government because of malpractice. This cult would practice in secret, in informal places of worship (like one of the cult members homes), the basis of the belief and the practiced ceremonies were to please the goddess embodiment of Parvati named Kali.
To show their devotion to her, they would offer human sacrifices as a form of Puja. They would do this by kidnapping random travelers in India (to not raise an suspicion) and would sacrifice them in front of a Kali sculpture by strangulation and suffixation. This practice is what the ceremonial sacrificing in the movie remotely resembles, and most likely where Mr. Lucas got the idea. The next accuracy is the government in the movie, and its true reality to life at the time.
This is significant to the religious standings in the movie because in 1935, Britain had claimed India as a colony, and therefore disrupted many of their religious practice and replace them with their own. This caused tension between the British and Indian governments, and was visible during the dinner scene at Bangkok palace between the British ambassador and the Indian royal regent to the child king. Lastly The municipal and federal government structures, are relatively true to even modern day culture. In majorly religious cultures, like that of India religious hierarchy’s and political governments are combined and intertwined.
Meaning many religious figures, like priests and guru’s also hold political power, which truly keeps religious qualities in mind while created laws to benefit people in reality and spiritually. This is scene in the movie in two cases; one, when the child king is also a major component of the thugee ceremony and it vital to its practices, and two, in the town where the children were stolen from the priest and community leader (like a mayor) are equals in the society. Unfortunately this is really all the movie got right, but it did make for a good action flick, and Harrison Ford was pretty easy on the eyes.
Indiana Jones and the temple of doom was an action movie of its time, earning great reviews from everybody everywhere in America. Western culture ate up the story line, the action of the fighting scenes, the compassion for the kidnapped children, and the cute romance between Indie and a strange club singer. Western culture truly have no clue about other religions besides there own. The Hindu culture is nothing like that portrayed in this film, but would anybody enjoy the movie if everyone got along and shared the prasad of the puja like one big happy family?
No. Movie goers want to see action, they want to see the weird stuff other people do (even if it’s fake), and they want to see one of their own people defeat the evil doers of others, it brings a sense of pride. I believe Mr Lucas intentionally made these mistakes to play to the viewers needs to make a successful movie. Mr Lucas achieved his goal but paid the price with realism, and the fact he can never go to India on vacation which would make a really cool holiday.

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