Thursday, March 18, 2010

Buddhist Groups Want Movie Banned

Two Buddhist organizations in Thailand have called on the government to ban a Thai movie, Nak Prok for potraying monks in a bad light and citing this movie would damage the image of Buddhism in Thailand.

Adisak Wannasin, president of the Buddhism Relations Association, said his association and the Network of Buddhist Organisations want the Nak Prok movie to be banned. This movie was completed in 2007 but after seeing another movie which depicts monks playing with remote controlled toy failed to get through the censorship board, the director of Nak Prok, Pawat Pawangkasiri decided to shelve the movie because his movie which has scenes involving monks, albeit fake ones, running around a holy place with girls and guns in tow, was showing much more than the other movie and could not have been approved for release. He did not even submit the movie to the Censorhip Board for clearance.

Last December , a new rating system was introduced and Pawat's movie company submitted the movie for approval and to his suprised the movie was given the greenlight to be shown without a single cut. The movie was accorded a 18+ rating but in order for it to be shown to the public, warning messages are to be included in two scene, one showing a monk (a real one) tattooing a man, and the other one showing the mother of a monk touching her son's hand. The warnings will flash up during those scenes with messages informing viewers that what they're seeing are inappropriate acts. There are no objections about those scenes with guns and running after girls.

Pawat says the provocative scenes in the movie were not intended to tarnish the image of monks but he was merely trying to depicts what's actually happen in reality. In an interview with a news portal, he says

"The idea came from headlines in newspapers," . "Almost every day you read about charlatans disguised as monks, or real monks even, doing all sorts of bad things. And it struck me as a Buddhist that Buddhism is being used by these bad people. I'm not super-religious; I was ordained as a monk briefly, and I have an interest in meditation and Buddhist teachings. What I think is that today we're only worshipping what's on the surface, and not the essence of Lord Buddha's words.

"If someone wraps himself in Buddhist robes, we're ready to believe that he's a good man. But as we all know, it's not always the case - like the thieves in the film. I never set out to criticise Buddhism, I simply want to show the truth that there are actually bad men who're exploiting the religion."

"Nak Prok" tells about three bandits who hide the money that they have stolen in the grounds of a temple. When they eventually are able to return to the temple, they discover that the money is no buried under a temple building. The bandits decided to disguise as Buddhist monks to get access to the temple ground and plot to unearth the money at night but while their plan is in progress, complications arise from outside forces which make it more difficult than expected to retrieve the money.

Nak Prok opens in Thailand today.

Some of the scenes from the movie

This is one of the two scenes that requires warning message to be flashed when shown to the public.

These are not scenes from the movie but the actors getting shaved for their monk roles.

The trailer