In 1984, after the success of the first part, Steven Spielberg directed “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. But did you know that the feature film has been banned in India? Find out the reasons for this ban.
Indiana Jones : a cult saga
In 1981, Steven Spielberg, embarks on one of his cult sagas by staging The Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first part of the license Indiana Jones. The feature film is a huge success, both critical and popular. The work is named at 8 times at the Oscars and even won four statuettes: Best Scenery, Best Sound, Best Editing and Best Special Effects.
On the box office side, The Raiders of the Lost Ark brings back more than $ 389 million in revenue, for a budget of $ 18 million. A largely sufficient score which pushes Paramount to produce several suites. In all, four films have seen the light of day, and a fifth is currently filming under the direction of James Mangold, with obviously the return of Harrison Ford as an archaeologist.
The Temple of Doom : a film banned in India
But the subject is not there. Indeed, in 1984, Steven Spielberg, crowned with the success of The Raiders of the Lost Ark, stages a second part of the saga Indiana Jones. Entitled Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it remains the darkest opus of the whole license. In this second adventure, Indy travels to India for one of his most perilous missions. In this new story, which takes place before The Raiders of the Lost Ark, graphic violence drew strong negative reviews around the time of the film’s release. In particular because of a PG ban deemed too lax. It is moreover this feature film which led to the creation of the PG-13 rating. (prohibited for children under 13) in the United States.
India, for its part, had a much more specific grievance about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Indeed, the country was outraged by the description of its own culture in Spielberg’s film. The latter obviously wanted to shoot his work on Indian soil. But faced with a scenario full of negative and caricatured stereotypes, India refused to let the filmmaker put his camera on his land. It must be said that the inhabitants of the northern Indian village that Indy visits are described; in The Temple of Doom; like consumers of monkey brains, snakes, living insects or eyeball soup. It turns out that local producers did not support Spielberg’s project and his narrow take on their customs.
A misrepresentation of Kali
The villagers are portrayed as worshipers of the demonic god Kali. Human sacrifices are even offered in his name. Rather than being a negative symbol like in the movie, Kali is actually generally associated with the changes and empowerment of a culture. He has even been considered a feminist god over time. Often symbolized in a female form Kali is portrayed as the destroyer of evil in all its forms. In contrast, therefore, to Spielberg’s vision in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Indeed, the filmmaker is totally missing the point on this one. And obviously, that did not particularly please the Hindus.
Given that Steven Spielberg refused to change his script, the Indian government banned the filming of The Temple of Doom on its territory. The production of the film therefore moved to Sri Lanka. And of course, when the film was released, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has been banned in India.
All this history did not prevent Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom to be a success. The film was nominated twice for the Oscars and won the award for Best Special Effects. At the box office, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom reported more than $ 333 million in revenue. And so, without the Indian box office. While waiting for the release ofIndiana Jones 5, we leave you with these few images of the shoot: