Hindus are urging Netflix to stay true to the story and the spirit of Hindu scripture Ramayana when borrowing storyline and characters from it in its reportedly upcoming animated series “Heaven’s Forest”.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Ramayana was a highly revered scripture of Hinduism. Hindus were fine with Hollywood and Bollywood making movies about Ramayana, but the final product should be the true depiction of it and not a fantasized or a re-imagined version.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that re-imagining of Hindu scriptures could be hurtful to the devotees. Hindus welcomed Hollywood/Bollywood to immerse in Hinduism, but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for mercantile greed.
Rajan Zed further said that changing Ramayana to fit the Hollywood/Bollywood machine was likely to be distressful to the Hindu sentiments. Ramayana was an integral part of Hinduism and was held in such reverence that Hindus believed that simply reading/hearing of it showered blessings upon the reader/listener. Rama, the hero of Ramayana, was incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and was worshipped by Hindus.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Zed indicated.
Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit scripture that consists of 24,000 stanzas, explores various themes; including human existence, concept of dharma, etc.
Netflix, claimed to be “world’s leading streaming entertainment service”, has reportedly ordered eight episodes of “Heaven’s Forest”, a Ramayana-inspired epic animated action drama series from Castlevania creator British comic-book writer Warren Ellis and Powerhouse Animation Studios. Launched in 1997 and headquartered in Los Gatos, California; Netflix claims to have “158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries”. Reed Hastings is CEO.