Buddhist groups in India have demanded a ban on the film "Villali Veeran," claiming that its makers and the main actor have depicted Buddha and Buddhist symbols in a poor manner.
The organizations also denounced the censor board for not excluding certain scenes, particularly a song sequence that showed the film makers' comical take on Buddha and the Cinderella story, The Times of India reported on September 11.
The report said one of the songs in the film, Cinderella Chanthame, featured main actor Dileep in Buddha's vesture under a Bodhi tree. In the song, Dileep wakes up from his meditation on seeing the heroine, Namitha Pramod, dressed up as Cinderella.
"The song sequence did not go well with the Buddhist organizations and they have blamed the censor board for not asking the film makers to edit those sequences," reported International Business Times.
But the film director, Suddheesh Shankar said he believes that the film does not insult Buddha in any way and should be taken in the "right spirit."
"There are plenty of songs with people dressed up as gods and goddesses. That doesn't mean they are insulting any religion," The Times of India quoted Suddheesh as saying.
The director also said that he has yet to receive any formal complaint from any Buddhist group supposedly denouncing the film.
"The complaint was that the song sequence featured Buddha, but the situation demanded such a humorous take as the character is someone who lives like the Buddha," Suddheesh was further quoted as saying.
He added: "He is someone who has renounced all worldly pleasures and it's into such a person's life that the girl enters."
The film was originally titled "Buddhettan" but the film makers changed their minds and settled instead with "Villali Veeran" to avoid further controversies. The film was released in India on September 6.