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BosNewsLife (05/15/06) – After ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Tickle My Funny Bone’, a third film, Sacred Evil, has shocked India ‘s Christian community, an Indian daily reported Monday, May 15.

The Mumbai Mirror newspaper, named after India ‘s film industry capital also known as ‘Bollywood’, said Christian groups condemned the film’s posters that feature the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ with the movie’s title written below.

Community members were quoted as saying the poster gives the impression that Christ on the cross is a sacred evil. The poster also depicts a nun supposed to be possessed by an ‘evil spirit’.

The producers of the movie, Sahara One Motion Pictures, describe it as a story of a “haunted nun in a convent”. In the film, the mother superior of the convent where the nun stays calls a witch to exorcise the spirit from the nun’s body. “The poster and the story give a wrong impression of the Christian faith,” said Joseph Dias of Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), a community group.

FILM PROTESTS

Despite the reported outrage, the Indian Film Censor Board reportedly refused to fulfill CSF’s request to allow Christian groups and a representative of the clergy to be shown the movie before its release, Mumbai Mirror said.

“The movie must have been certified some time ago. We have not received any letters of protests against the movie yet,” the Board was quoted as saying.

“It is based on two real life stories and I have no clue why somebody should have an issue against the movie,” said Sandeep Dhami, Chief Executive Officer of Sahara One Motion Pictures in a published statement. “If anybody has a problem with the movie, we will try and sort it out,” he reportedly added.

FILMS FLOW

However Abraham Mathai of the All India Christian Council told reporters his group wants “producers of the film to put a disclaimer saying the movie is based on a work of fiction.”

The recent flow of films deemed offensive to Christians has apparently surprised the community. “There seems to be concerted effort to trivialize the Christian religion. Earlier, Hindi films portrayed Christians as drunks. Now, priests and nuns are being targeted,” Dias said, according to Mumbai Mirror.

Christian groups have also filed petitions asking for a ban on The Da Vinci Code and Tickle My Funny Bone. While The Da Vinci Code film raises the possibility that Jesus had a child by Mary Magdalene, that she fled to France and that Christ’s bloodline survives to this day, Tickle My Funny Bone, is viewed as “denigrating” Catholic consecrated sisters by depicting a nun with sexual escapades.

MORE PROTESTS

In Mumbai, protests have been planned against the ‘Sacred Evil’ movie on Tuesday, May 16. Some Muslim groups have reportedly said they will join the protests. There has been concern however over a reward announcement that a Christian made to get “dead or alive” Dan Brown, author of the controversial novel The Da Vinci Code on which the film is based.

The Catholic Church “condemns such calls. We are totally against any form of protest that manifests traits of violence,” said Father Donald De Souza, Deputy Secretary General of Catholic Bishops Conference of India told the Indian Catholic publication in comments monitored by the BosNewsLife New Delhi Bureau Monday, May 15.

At the same time there are worries the films could further increase violent attacks against Christians by Hindu militants opposing the spread of Christianity in India , a predominantly Hindu nation.

Churches have been raided by Hindu extremists in several areas and there have been attacks against individual Christians, church leaders and missionary workers in the country where Christians comprise just over two percent of the Indian population of 1.1 billion people.