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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Why a Sex Scene in Oppenheimer has Sparked Outrage in India

The "Oppenheimer" sex scene controversy reflects the complex interplay between artistic expression and religious sensitivity.

The movie “Oppenheimer” has ignited controversy in India due to a particular sex scene involving the lead actors Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh. The scene has sparked anger among Indian Hindus as it involves the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s holiest scriptures.

The Scene

In the scene, Pugh’s character, Jean Tatlock, halts the intimate moment and asks Cillian’s character to read from the Bhagavad Gita. Cillian, portraying J. Robert Oppenheimer, recites the famous line, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” The quote is repeated throughout the film.

The Quote

In real life, J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted the famous line from the sacred Hindu text during a TV broadcast about the atomic detonations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki towards the end of the second world war.


The inclusion of the Bhagavad Gita reference in the sex scene has offended some Hindu right-wing groups in India. They argue that such portrayal is disrespectful to their sacred scripture and cultural traditions. Many have called for a boycott of the film.

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BJP’s Reaction

India’s governing party, BJP, is known for it Nationalist-Hinduist policies. BJP member and India’s Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar reacted to the scene from Christopher Nolan’s movie calling is a, “a direct attack on the religious beliefs of one billion tolerant Hindus.” He directly addressed the movie maker in his tweet:

Public Response and Debate

While Oppenheimer has garnered widespread praise and positive reception across India, the controversy has sparked a heated debate. Some are defending the artistic freedom of filmmakers to depict historical events in their own way, while others argue that certain boundaries should be respected in the portrayal of sensitive topics.

The Movie

“Oppenheimer,” a biographical drama directed by Christopher Nolan, portrays the life of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the atomic bomb. During the opening weekend, Oppenheimer earned $174.2 million across the globe, becoming the third-biggest opening of Christopher’s career.