“Sanjay’s Super Team,” an animated short featuring Hinduism and directed by Sanjay Patel, received a nomination for animated short film at the Oscars earlier this week, earning a share in the spotlight at the year’s biggest award show.
The crowd at San Diego Comic-Con fell hard for Pixar’s upcoming short “Sanjay’s Super Team,” one of the studio’s most heartwarming films yet.
The short is a story about a young boy whose prime interests lie in watching cartoons and playing with his action figures, thus sparking his love for superheroes, even more than his family’s Hindu faith.
“Sanjay would much rather watch cartoons and play with his action figures than join his father for puja, a daily Hindu ritual of meditation and prayer. But as the film progresses, Sanjay begins to imagine the gods he is praying to as superheroes, sparking his interest in Hinduism,” according to a media report.
This seven-minute film played in theaters before the showing of Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur”.
The executive director of the Hindu American Foundation, Suhag Shukla told reporters that she was elated upon her faith getting an opportunity to feature on such a huge platform. It has been noted that although the genre of religion is popular among movies like “Noah” or “Exodus: Gods and Kings”, it is rare for Hinduism to be featured in the popular media.
According to reporters, “Shukla said that while growing up, she rarely saw characters who reflected her experience or the way she looked. She is excited for her two children to see the short film and thinks it is a step in the right direction.”
It was also reported that the childhood experience of Patel, the animated short’s director, was reflected in the story, emerging as the basis of the film. The story is “bound to connect with children of all ages and races, as well as help those outside of the Hindu culture understand their deities a little better.”
Hindus compose 0.7 percent of the U.S. population, according to Pew Research Center.
The westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our "scriptures"
and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those "holy books"
only in the drawers of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our
“butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods' idols !!!
Any auspicious days in Hinduism are expected to be observed with a complete purity of action and thought. The same holds true for other religions too. As per the Hindu scriptures, the believers are required to stay away from any kind of sense gratifications, particularly when the specific days are dedicated to Gods and Goddess such as Navratri, Laxmi Puja, Krishna Janmashtami, Shivaratri, to name a few. The pathway to devotion and spiritualism should not be “desecrated” by the blot of the brazen entertainment. The scriptures logically explain why it is antithetical, and its adverse consequences.
But, what a huge irony, rather a blasphemy that many people these days have started to choose the auspicious days of Gods to satisfy their base senses. Without a wee bit of regret, a certain class of people holds almost every auspicious day as the most “unmissable” occasion to booze with the friends, and what not, and stagger back home, lol! Such bizarre practices are fast catching now than ever. Sadly, hardly any conscious people and spiritual organizations stand up and take the right measures to check such godless deviations.
What is quite unpleasant is that such a kind of unholy practices are often being facilitated by certain “Hindu intuitions” as well. On this past Laxmi Puja, the “propitious time” to perform the ritual had fallen between 6 PM to 7:53 PM. Yours truly decided to use that span of time for meditation. But hell broke loose. Apart from fireworks around, the Bollywood songs in high decibel burst forth from a certain Hindu institution quite frustrated the mission.
One senior citizen laments – “Nothing could be irreligious than the fact that a favorable time for “puja” is also being used for the wrongful purposes. We rather expect the “Hindu institutions” to teach our children Bhajan, Kirtan, and other spiritual activities, not the loud and feverish parties and disturb others.”
Another college student adds “Having been much disturbed by the noise pollution, I have persuaded my parents to shift our place of residence to elsewhere, not at least near holy places with an unholy mission. I have started to see such institutions with the eyes of suspicion these says.” Is it that our institutions are unable to use their “discretion”, and as a result, they fail to differentiate between right and wrong? One is deeply apprehensive that Bollywood songs and vulgar dances might as well be included as a part of the “puja ritual” as we have long accepted the fun of fireworks bursting as an integral part of Laxmi Puja which in fact is just an entrenched “misconception”.
Needless to say, our roar for consumerism has almost drowned the whisper of inherent spiritualism. We are only just sending out the wrong messages. I’m afraid, the whole culture itself might be looked down with derision by other faiths. It might just become a subject of ridicule! It is no exaggeration, such negative notions against the “wrong practices” are all what we often read these days in several newspapers and social media. Do we want others to demean our profound spiritual heritage thus? I believe it calls for a serious soul-searching.
Incidentally, the Bhagavad Gita describes such situation as the rise of “tamasic vibes”. It warns in the strongest terms that mankind should absolutely be careful not to fall under the influence of any short-lived sense gratifications. Or else, our endeavor to “practice and preserve” the sanctity of a religion/spiritualism will be a futile exercise.
However, on the other hand, the westerners practicing Hinduism have learned a pretty well from our “scriptures” and are becoming more spiritual while we just locked up those “holy books” only in a drawer of the altar. Thus we only love to shake our “butts to the boom-boom of Bollywood”.. right in front of the Gods’ idols !!!
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.