Was James Cameron a Hindu in his previous birth? Or is he going to be a Hindu in his next birth? Or is he a Hindu within without being aware of it. These seem to the first thoughts that cross the mind as one watches his latest movie “Avtar”
In the first place the title of the movie is so much a Hindu name. We reproduce the excellent write up from HAF on this, ” Avatar’s origins, come from the Sanskrit language in sacred Hindu texts, and it’s a term for divine beings sent to restore goodness to Earth .Those who practice Hinduism recognize three main deities. Lord Brahma is considered the creator of the universe; Lord Vishnu is considered the sustainer of the universe, to right things when needed; and Lord Shiva is the redeemer of the universe.
It is believed that these deities sent avatars — incarnations of themselves in human form — to perform “dharma,” or righteous duty, to right wrongs or to restore peace and goodness. Hindu theology names 10 numbered avatars. Two of the most important from Hindu scripture are Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu & Lord Krishna”
The graciousness of James cameron himself has to to be appreciated. He said the same in fewer words in an interview with Time magazine. The next part of his interview was fascinating. He said that his mother had visions of a God who was blue in color.All Hindus know that Lord Krishna is Blue in color. He is known as Neela Megha Shyama, (Neela= Blue, Megha=Cloud, Shyama=God).The protagonists of this movie have a skin color that is blue. So Mr .Cameron has given a screen life to the visions of his mother. A true son. ( Mother’s seem to have such a strong influence on sons worldwide!)
The plot of the movie:
In spectacular 3D visuals, it gives a new angle to a common story line and ends with a novel plot. It tells how a white man sides with the people whom he has come to conquer and helps them defeat the invading forces.This is against known convention of hollywood and has incensed a few. Lets examine them,
“Not much behind the images” was how the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, summed it up in a headline. Vatican Radio said it “cleverly winks at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium.”
The movie tells that identifying with nature and living in harmony with nature is a better way of living. This directly challenges the role of vatican, its hotline with god and resultant control over people. We feel two scenes in particular would have directly challenged the Vatican’s strategy,
Scene 1:The head of the invading force says this in his justification of his invasion, “We have built them schools and road. What else do they want” Inferring that the invaded people should give up their prized possessions in return for the benevolence shown upon them in the form of schools and roads.(In Indian context it could mean, we have built schools, hospitals and provided aid when tsunami has struck you. So what is your problem in giving up Hinduism and embracing Christianity?)
Scene 2: A proven and time tested evangelical strategy is to gather people for a public education session with local instructors translating the message from live evangelicals who communicate in English on stage to the masses. This movie has an identical scene, except that in this case the roles are reversed. The hero talks to the masses in their language and helps them to fight back and defeat the invaders.
(In the Indian context imagine a White evangelist coming to India, and learning a particular Indian language and communicating with Indians of that region in that language. He alerts them on the real objectives & dangers of evangelism to Hinduism This helps the locals to open their eyes and fight back and actually defeat the evangelists!!)
The Racist Charge:
The fact that movie tells that a white man comes to the aid of natives and helps them to fight back has offended some. We re-produce a commentary,“Still, the movie’s signs of racial paternalism are, to some critics, as apparent as its borrowed plot, with echoes of ‘Dances With Wolves,’ ‘Pocahontas,’ ‘The Last Samurai,’ and other Hollywood films in which a tribe of people of color depend on a white protagonist, who’s immersed himself in their culture, to save them from their oppressors”.
We beg to differ and this could sound radical, but we believe it to be true. If we classify the human race into different species and the world still a jungle, you would notice that white people possess distinct skills. First their hunting prowess. They hunt in packs. A classic example is the second gulf war. The entire white race of the western world has managed to join hands and take a united platform. Can the Muslim world ever manage to join hands? It may do it only in theory. Strike one in favor of white people. Second in terms of being progressive and development they are always ahead. So in spite of Africa having so much of world resources and Gulf having so much of oil resources, they still have to rely on western technology. Strike two in favor of whites. The point is they seem to be blessed with superior skills.
In Indian context, will the Indians ever wake up to and muster the skills to challenge the evangelical machinery? There are thousands of Indian facilitators who help the evangelicals and still strut around with external macho ism, impervious to the damage they are doing to their society. This can stop only when a sincere White Christian soul will silently acknowledge the damage his creed is doing and actively help Indians in preserving their faith. If that is racism we would be fine with that.
Each day when the world wakes up the world is engulfed with the billions of thoughts from its 7 billion inhabitants. Most of them are neutral with not much of destructive power. Few of them are strong, powerful and positive.Such thoughts are radical, go against the wind and usually serve as a beacon of hope to mankind.
Mr James Cameron has undergone a major shift in this movie. He moved away from the stereotype of Hollywood and also from his own earlier movies. In this case the human being is shown as a part of the cosmic creation as opposed to the the ruler and all conquering power who is here to rule the earth and worlds. That fits perfectly into the Hindu view of the world.