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Wednesday, 18 August, 1999, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
'Eyes' sparks blasphemy row
Cruise and Kidman star in Kubrick's tale of sexual obsession
Director Stanley Kubrick's final film, erotic thriller Eyes Wide Shut, is causing a religious row among Hindu communities around the world.

The steamy study of jealousy and sexual obsession, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, has been condemned as blasphemous by Hindu religious leaders.

Their anger is over one particular scene in which verses from one of their religion's most sacred texts, the Bhagavad Gita, are recited during an orgy.

The American Hindu Anti-Defamation Council has complained to the film's makers Warner Bros insisting that the scene be edited out.

Some members of the Hindu religion have expressed their anger on the Internet. Demonstrations against the company are also said to have been planned.

But despite the furore Warner Bros reportedly has no plans to change the scene before the film opens in the UK on 10 September.

Ignorant of verse origins

The offending scene comes towards the end of the movie in which Cruise and Kidman play a married couple whose relationship is altered by a confession of an unconsummated sexual fantasy.

It sees Cruise wandering past a room where an orgy is taking place, while in the background verses from the Bhagavad Gita are recited over a musical backdrop.

The Bhagavad Gita is a chapter of the epic Indian war poem, the Mahabharata. The verses in question are, says the council, part of one of the most important pieces from the entire saga.

A Warner Bros spokesman has apologised on behalf of the company for using the track with the poetry in the film but said no offence had been intended.

Stanley Kubrick died a week after finishing his film
In fact, he added, producers found it on a Virgin Records compilation album and used it purely for its atmospheric qualities - without knowing what it said.

However, the US-based Hindu Anti-Defamation Council is taking the mistake very seriously.

It has already earned itself a reputation as a powerful lobby group after it made Sony remove a Krishna motif from an album cover.

Now it is said to be working alongside the British-based World Council of Hindus to have the Eyes Wide Shut scene changed.

Kubrick, who died unexpectedly aged 70 in March, completed his sexually charged film a week before he died.

But it is not the first time the now infamous orgy scene has got his last piece of work into trouble.

Censors in America had the scene altered to mask its overt nudity before the film opened there on 16 July.

British cinemagoers will nonetheless be able to see the scene in full when the film opens in the UK next month.

See also:

29 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Brits to see 'Eyes' uncut
20 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Eyes Wide Shut opens on top
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