Julia Roberts Film Interrupts Indian Religious Fest, Stirs Anger
Julia Roberts has angered Hindu villagers in India when they found out a local temple had to be shut down, preventing them from celebrating the Navratri religious festival, because of her film.
Worshipers at Ashram Hari Mandir, near Delhi, reported that the Oscar-winning actress was protected by 350 guards, including 40 gunmen, bulletproof cars, and a helicopter while she was shooting a new movie "Eat, Pray, Love." The movie crew sealed off access to a local temple to use it as a film set at the start of Navratri, a nine-day celebration to worship the goddess Durga.
Shakuntala Devi, who was turned away at the front gate, said: "It's the holiest time of year and we must not be stopped from visiting our own temple."
One said: "Entry for devotees is barred. We were not allowed to enter and pray in the morning by the security. Only those who could manage to sneak in did so but most of us were all sent back. It's Navratras and we must not be stopped from visiting a temple."
Another threatened: "I am going to barge in for the evening aarti (ritual). Let's see who stops me. What is it that they are shooting that we cannot even enter our own temple."
Up until now, the acress has been regarded as one of the most "Hindu-friendly" Hollywood actors - not only was she publicly praised when she sported a bindi spot on her forehead during a visit to the Taj Mahal earlier this year, she also named her children after Hindu gods.
In the movie "Eat, Pray, Love," based on the best-selling memoir of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert, Julia Roberts plays a writer on her spiritual quest to find herself in Hindu spirituality after experiencing a traumatic divorce. The film is expected to be released in 2011.