Da Vinci Film Storm
Tom Hanks, left, and French actress Audrey Tautou, center, arrive with director Ron Howard. “The Da Vinci Code” opens the 59th International film festival on Wednesday (May 17). (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
The Da Vinci Code movie has raked up much controversy worldwide. In India, Christian and Muslim groups have demanded that the film should be banned.
In India, which is home to 18 million Catholics, the head of the Catholic Secular Forum has begun a ‘hunger strike until death’.
Joseph Dias said he wanted others to join him and pledged to continue until the film was banned.
His organisation has described The Da Vinci Code as “offensive” because it breaches “certain basic foundations of the religion”.
The Indian protests follow other demonstrations in several Asian countries.
Islamic clerics in Mumbai (Bombay) backed a call by Catholics for a boycott of the film on Tuesday.
The blockbuster has caused outrage among many Christian organisations, including senior officials at the Vatican.
Indian officials have held a special screening of controversial Hollywood blockbuster The Da Vinci Code after protests by Christians.
Government officials and Catholic leaders viewed the film after broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi received over 200 complaints.
Mr Dasmunsi said opinions would be sent by Friday to censors who would take a final decision on the film’s release.
Mr Dasmunsi said the government was being “careful” over the film.
“We are a secular country. On any sensitive issue, we should take action after we examine every aspect,” he told the Associated Press.
The film received its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday.
India’s Central Board of Film Certification cleared the film on Monday, saying it would give it an adult rating if the film-makers agreed to a disclaimer at the start of the movie saying it was a work of fiction.
The film, which stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou and is directed by Ron Howard, is based on the novel by Dan Brown. It revolves around a theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and their descendants survive today.
The cast of the film travelled on a specially-painted Eurostar train from London to Cannes on Tuesday in preparation for the film’s premiere.
Together McKellen and Bettany prevent the film from being a Â£125m critical disaster.
But the truth is, the wide appeal of The Da Vinci Code book coated the film in critic-proof armour long before it was even made.
“With 50 million copies of the book sold worldwide, it is virtually guaranteed to be a commercial hit.
“HOLLYWOOD faced the wrath of Christian groups as it unveiled its $200 million (Â£106 million) adaptation of The Da Vinci Code (Jack Malvern, Ruth Gledhill and Alex Derry write).
“British Roman Catholics added their voices to protests taking place from Italy to the Far East in anticipation of a film that Christians believe subverts the story of Christ.
“The calls for disclaimers and boycotts are the largest protest for any film since the controversies over The Last Temptation of Christ in the 1980s and The Life of Brian in the 1970s.
“British priests, monks and theologians called for a disclaimer after a survey suggested that 60 per cent of readers of Dan Brownâ€™s book believed that Christ could have fathered children.
“Christians in India, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines also condemned the film as cinemas prepared for a worldwide release. Yes, the film is a catâ€™s cradle of lunatic ideas with lashings of religious psychobabble,but itâ€™s infinitely easier to forgive than the book that begat it.”