Message from Anuttama Dasa, ISKCON Minister for Communications,
on the release of the new movie Dum Maro Dum
Some of you will recall that in the year 1971, Dev Anand produced and directed the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna that showed images of our founder Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON devotees chanting. The movie also included the song ‘Dum Maro Dum’ which had references to the Hare Krishna mantra.
Unfortunately, the movie and song’s depiction of drugs and illicit activities misled the general public to think that Hare Krishna devotees indulge in such things. This misinformation damaged the reputation of the young ISKCON movement in India and caused undeserved pain to our devotees, members and friends.
It took years for the people of India to understand that sincere followers of ISKCON strictly refrain from smoking, drinking, gambling and illicit relationships. And that, in fact, ISKCON’s propagation of the Hare Krishna mantra is convincing millions around the world to give up these same illicit behaviors.
Recently, Ramesh Sippy Enterprise and FoxStar India have co-produced a new movie ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ which was released on 22 April, 2011 with an ‘A’ (Adults only) certificate. This film includes a song ‘Mit Jaaye Gham’ which is a remix of the original ‘Dum Maro Dum’ song from Hare Ram Hare Krishna movie. Like the original, the song contains references to the Hare Krishna mantra.
Members of the ISKCON Communications Ministry, led by Parijata DeviDasiin Mumbai, followed the development and publicity about the film for some time. Out of concern that the new film might propagate the same false images of ISKCON devotees as had the earlier one, Gopala Krishna Goswami (GBC), Braja Hari Dasa (President, ISKCON Juhu) and Parijata DeviDasi(ISKCON Communications, Western India) met with the producers earlier this month.
The producers assured ISKCON’s representatives that, unlike the earlier movie, the new production does not have any reference to ISKCON, its teachings, or Hare Krishna devotees.
The above devotees insisted on a preview screening of the ‘Mit Jaaye Gham’ song, which has references to the Hare Krishna mantra. In the song, the words Hare Krishna and Hare Rama are paired with images depicting smoking, sexuality, etc. which are contradictory to the devotional spirit in which the members of ISKCON and many other Vaisnavas chant the Hare Krishna mantra.
After the preview screening, the ISKCON leaders requested the filmmakers that, since the images and activities depicted in the song ‘Mit Jaaye Gham’ do not in any way reflect the activities of members of ISKCON or its teachings, the producers issue a disclaimer in the movie stating the same.
After some period of negotiation, the producers issued the following disclaimer, which will appear in the beginning of the movie, to be seen every time the movie is shown in India:
“Our re-recorded song ‘Mit Jaaye Gham’ has reference to the Hare Krishna mantra. The filmmakers wish to state that they do not intend to dishonor the prayer or inadvertently hurt the sentiments of Hindu people worldwide and the members of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) who are its proponent.”
In the modern world, artists and movie-makers are allowed much leeway in the name of “free speech” and “artistic license”. Thus, we had limited options. But it was important that we assured they did not misuse images of ISKCON devotees, and that they publicly stated their desire to not offend the Lord’s name or His devotees.
We hope the disclaimer will help eliminate any misunderstanding that viewers of the movie may have in relation to the ‘Mit Jaaye Gham’ song, and clarify that the song and film and its portrayal of illicit activities have no connection whatsoever with ISKCON.
Regarding the film itself, we recommend that our devotees and friends simply avoid the film and overlook whatever short-lived attention it may receive. Lord Krishna tells us that all things of this world quickly pass, and He recommends we concentrate on the eternal. And, those inclined to watch a movie are advised to find one that is spiritually uplifting and avoid the mundane, however popular or controversial it may be.
In case of any queries or information, please contact: Parijata Devi Dasi(Parijata.RNS@pamho.net)