Indian American leader Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), said that Hinduism and its belief system were quite often misunderstood and incorrectly depicted outside India and urged the filmmakers to stay to authentic traditions. Film, being a powerful medium, misrepresentation would not be fair to Hindus and Hinduism, Zed added.
Based on Pushcart Prize winner Elizabeth Gilbert's spirituality/travel memoir (played by Roberts), this film is currently being shot in New York till end of August, and the shooting will move to India to film ashram sequences after about over two weeks stint in Italy. Some of the Indian crew of Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle) will also be helping in the India part of the production, though the shooting schedule is being kept hush-hush, according to reports.
Filmmakers are yet to select the actress to play 17-year old tomboy Indian girl Tulsi, who will be on the ashram floor-scrubbing crew interacting with Roberts, and who is equally devoted to God and hip-hop music.
People of India will be anxious to see how perfectly Roberts does her job of cleaning ashram floors as a part of her devotional duty, trying to recite 182-verse Sanskrit chant, and going through grueling hours of meditation while being feasted on by mosquitoes. Gilbert reportedly spent four months in India, trying to find her spirituality.
Oscar nominated Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) and Oscar nominated Viola Davis (Doubt) will also reportedly be in India for the shooting. Rest of the cast includes Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Paris Film Festival award winner Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), Golden Globe winner James Franco (Pineapple Express), Luca Argentero (Lezioni di cioccolato), etc. Directed by Emmy nominated Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck) and produced by Columbia Pictures, Brad Pitt's (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Plan B Entertainment and Roberts' Red Om Films, it is aimed at a release in 2011.
Gilbert's bestseller memoir 'Eat, Pray, Love' is about her self-discovery and soul-searching after her nasty divorce, exploring through India, Italy, and Indonesia, a journey which is pleasurable as well as enlightening. It was number one on New York Times Paperback Nonfiction List for over a year and its over five million copies were reportedly now in print. She has also authored a short story collection 'Pilgrims'. 'Eat, Love, Pray' T-shirts, baseball caps, throw pillows, and mugs are already on sale.
Gilbert goes to India to learn the "art of devotion". A critic has defined it as "the worst in Western fetishization of Eastern thought and culture".
Gilbert, who currently lives in New Jersey, was born in Waterbury (Connecticut) in 1969 and grew up on a tree farm in Litchfield (Connecticut), where the family reportedly had no neighbors, no TV and not even a record player. According to reports, Gilbert's former husband is also writing his own memoir of world travel titled as "Displaced".
Zed further said that if the filmmaker needed any help concerning depiction of Hinduism or related issues, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to assist.