Religion has a way of creeping into science fiction... but religious people aren't always thrilled about it. Case in point: Hindu groups are already sounding a note of caution about the planned movie version of the comic book Ramayan 3392 A.D., which is a retelling of the Hindu epic set in the distant future, featuring cyborg warriors of the post-apocalypse. With the creators of the historical epic 300 behind Ramayan, how can people possibly be worried about this movie's accuracy? Details below.
In Ramayan 3392 A.D., the world has been destroyed by some kind of techno-nasty. And now what's left of the human race is threatened by a terrible evil named Ravan, who commands an army of the half-living, half-cybernetic race of Asuras, marching across the world. The world's last hope is the gleaming city of Avodhva, where the last vestige of humanity holds out and the mighty warrior Kshatriyas live. The Kshatriyas' greatest hero is Rama, previously exiled from his homeland due to Ravan's manipulations, reluctantly agrees to meet Ravan's army in battle. In the comic so far, Rama winds up getting injured and then flees to the rough outlaw city of Panchvati, where his love interest Seeta gets imprisoned in a harem and Rama faces certain death in a gladitorial arena. The comic is written by new writer Shamik Dasgupta with "consultations" by Ron Marz, the guy who turned Hal Jordan into a crazy douchebag and then stuffed the new Green Lantern's girlfriend into a refrigerator. Marz is also writing the backup story in each issue. Sounds good so far, right? So the movie adaptation is being written by John Collee, who worked on Happy Feet and Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World, and produced by Mark Canton, who produced 300. From what I've heard, Master And Commander was reasonably respectful towards the books, and 300 honored the comics source material, even if it was a little historically dodgy. But Hindus are already getting nervous about the futuristic Hollywoodization of one of their classic texts, the Ramayan. The Universal Society of Hinduism has been sending out press releases saying Hollywood is "welcome to make a movie about Ramayan, but the final product should be the true depiction of it and not a fantasized or a re-imagined version." Presumably they haven't seen the comic yet? I'm assuming they don't think including undead cyborgs is a "true depiction" of the Ramayan. They warn that Hollywood shouldn't try to plunder Hindu scriptures for commercial gain, or Hindus will be upset. If Hollywood wants to do a completely faithful version of the classic text (which would be a first), then Hindu scholars stand ready to help out. So what does USH President Rajan Zed think a futuristic version of Ramayan should look like? The only clue in his press release comes from this statement: "Ramayan had been venerated for thousands of years and we believe that it would continue to be revered in 3392 AD." In other words, he'd welcome a movie about futuristic cyborgs reading the classic text and taking inspiration from it. Or maybe acting it out. Actually, come to think of it, I would pay to watch that. If Hindu groups do decide to protest the Ramayana 3392 movie, maybe they can gather in the Ramayana 3392 A.D. MMO which Sony is organizing?