‘Oppenheimer’ Sacred Text Reading Sex Scene Raises Hackles in India

Even though Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” has a raunchy sex scene and quotes from the Bhagavad Gita, there have been protests over the incident.

The Central Board of Film Certification in India gave the movie a U/A rating.


Cillian Murphy plays Robert Oppenheimer, and Florence Pugh plays Jean Tatlock in the sex scene. Pugh interrupts their sexual encounter, gets up, walks over to the bookshelf, selects a copy of the “Bhagavad Gita,” and requests that Murphy read aloud from it. As the sexual encounter resumes, Murphy reads the passage from the “Bhagavad Gita” that Oppenheimer famously pondered when the first nuclear bomb was set off: “I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”

The 700-verse “Bhagavad Gita,” which translates to “word of God,” is a dialogue between the divine Krishna and the prince Arjuna on a battlefield as the former struggles with moral decisions. It is a part of the Indian epic “Mahabharata.”

As Nolan is a huge draw in India, audiences flocked to watch “Oppenheimer” in Imax and other formats starting at 3am. Social media protests started almost immediately after that.

Uday Mahurkar, a journalist who the Indian government appointed as an information commissioner in 2020, was one of them. The Save Culture Save India Foundation is another organisation that Mahurkar founded.

Mahurkar, writing on the foundation’s behalf about Oppenheimer, sent Nolan the following message via Twitter:

It has come to our attention that the film Oppenheimer contains a scene in which Hinduism is attacked harshly.  According to social media reports, a scene in the movie depicts a woman making a man read the Bhagwad Geeta out loud while she has sex with him. She appears to be adjusting the position of her reproductive organs while holding the Bhagwad Geeta in one hand. One of Hinduism’s most revered texts is the Bhagwad Geeta. Numerous sanyasis, brahmcharis, and legends who practise self-control and carry out selfless noble deeds have drawn inspiration from Geeta.

The reasoning and motivation behind this pointless scene from a scientist’s life are unknown to us. But this is an outright attack on the religious convictions of a billion tolerant Hindus; it amounts to waging war on the Hindu community and almost certainly forms part of a larger anti-Hindu conspiracy.

The letter continues, “Hollywood is very sensitive about the fact that Quran and Islam is not depicted in any manner that may offend the value system of a common Muslim, even if you make something based on Islamist terrorism,” and asks, “Why should not the same courtesy be also extended to Hindus?”

The letter requests that Nolan “remove this scene from your film across the world” and warns that doing so would be seen as a deliberate attack on Indian civilization.

. @OppenheimerATOM
Mr Christopher Nolan
Director , Oppenheimer film

Date : July 22, 2023

Reg: Film Oppenheimer’s disturbing attack on Hinduism

Dear Mr Christopher Nolan,

Namaste from Save Culture Save India Foundation.

It has come to our notice that the movie…

— Uday Mahurkar (@UdayMahurkar) July 22, 2023

In contrast, the movie is a box office hit in India, earning $3.6 million in its first two days of release, easily surpassing “Barbie,” which brought in $1.2 million.

This is not the first instance of a “Bhagavad Gita” quotation appearing in a Hollywood studio film. I take birth and am incarnated on Earth from age to age for the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of evil, and for the firm establishment of Dharma, as stated in an orgy scene in Stanley Kubrick’s final movie, “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999). Warnera Bros. removed the lines from the soundtrack in response to complaints from Hindu organisations.