The Highest Praise

Some people love Sita Sings the Blues enough to devote time and energy (and probably money!) to protesting it in public. My movie is now in the same league as the paintings of the late M. F. Hussein. I have arrived.

Article: Troll Sena protests Sita Sings the Blues in San Jose

Related: Aseem Chhabra on Sita Sings the Blues and free speech, in the Mumbai Mirror.


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

13 thoughts on “The Highest Praise”

  1. Wow congratulations!

    You know you have done something amazing if people are willing to protest it.

  2. I guess these freaks will be going after yoga studios next. And I thought the Christians and Muslims were anal.

  3. I’m not sure it’s praise; they seem to hate it. “It draws irreverent parallels” sure sounds like praise. Hopefully the protesters will see the film, since I think it would be praised.

    SStB treated the story lovingly — touchy. I guess Hinduism lacks an Andres Ceranno. Nude deities like Husain’s wouldn’t shock Renaissance Christians.

    “Public funds used to denigrate Hinduism”, so somebody there writes counterproductive news releases. “Hindu fundamentalists denigrate artistic expression at Jose Museum” would be an equally invalid release.

    I just saw someone made a beautiful Sita drawing based on SStB’s style @

  4. Wow, a whole protest all to yourself! Excellent!
    I hope one day I can achieve something that is influential enough that some small faction of crazy people find it necessary to protest it before it infects all of society….

  5. Congratulations Nina, and remember; Censure is the tax an artist pays to the public for being eminent.

  6. LOL – all THAT protest because of the movie? Come on: I’ve seen far worse.

    They should come over to Europe and visit the “Ganesh temple” … in a local Zoo: featuring a real elephant. Plus a kiosk selling beef. Oh, and not to mention: Maya sculptures. Though I don’t understand why. But who cares, since they got a Buddha too.
    Also I don’t understand why the Ganesh statue is sitting on a pile of skulls. Must have got this one at a cheap Polish flea market. They also got another statue that may be supposed to show Ganesh but instead is just “some” sleeping elephant. They accidentally got an elephant shaped garden dwarf, if you ask me. Easy to tell because real Ganesh statues have just one tusk – not two.

    But hey: Europe is not India and since we have a critical lack of Indian expertise they have just done the best they could. If these Hindi really meant in deeds what they do in words they should come over and lend a hand instead of protesting. We need some guys telling them what’s authentic and what’s not, before they put up another Aztec sculpture, attach 6 arms and 5 legs and claim it to be a statue of Vishnu.

  7. Okay.
    Deep breath.
    I’m Indian, an atheist, watched this for college, and am outraged by your complete and arrogant dismissal (on interviews, blog comments and your FAQs) of ANY kind of criticism of or unease with Sita Sings the Blues. Say after me: I’m not REALLY Sita; I’m not ACTUALLY perfect.
    Seriously. If you stepped back from your ridiculously self-important and laughably narcissistic viewpoint and really looked at these people (everyone must of course be fundamentalists if they don’t like Sita Sings the Blues) and their signs, you might actually see this inescapable point: you’ve caused hurt to people. These people holding signs, people on blogs I’ve read, and people who have much more of a claim on, attachment to and have been immersed in the Ramayana than your cursory perusal. You might not care and dismiss this (which you seem to have done, in stunning displays of privilege on a zillion self-absorbed interviews) or you might show SOME grace, gratitude and humility and post two things on the SSTB website:
    One, a disclaimer that this is by no means an accurate or even halfway correct version of the Ramayana and should not be allowed to become any kind of definitive version for lazy people, and
    Two, a page with PROMINENT links to indigenous and canonical interpretations of the Ramayana (yes, including the campy-yet-cult Ramanand Sagar one) instead of one half-assed page full of nina, nina, nina and ONE almost hidden away source link (to the brilliant nabanita deb sen).
    I could help you with these links if you wish or care, (though this is futile, I think, seeing your response to other bloggers and livejournal-ers), having had many, many years of living with, being immersed in and studying interpretations of the Ramayana and other epics.
    I couldn’t care less about the harm to Hinduism or the Ramayana; they have survived many, many misinterpretations and will survive more. I ask you to contextualize your movie so that you’re not pointed out in future as a callous, western appropriator who couldn’t be bothered to research deeply and who didn’t know how or where to give proper credit; or worse, didn’t care enough.
    This is sad, because you’re obviously talented (though the people voicing the puppets really make the movie) and the movie is beautiful and great fun, and would have been fine if made by an Indian/desi/authority, or if it had the appropriate disclaimers. I’m just disgusted by your overall attitude.

  8. ^^ Oh, come on you unnamed critic over there! ^^

    I’m an Atheist like you and we get trembled upon our feelings every day. Others don’t even grant us to be a proper religion. While we are: the Believe that there is no deity is a confession like any other. You cannot proof the existence of any god by can’t proof the opposite either. Thus believing that the existence of any deity is impossible of course IS a religious believe.

    Yet we are not given the same rights and protection as other religious groups, even though we are THE largest religious group ever.

    We don’t simply believe in nothing – we are convinced that the question of what you believe in is irrelevant to what happens to you after death. We believe in the equality of human life.

    Even on official records we are not even granted a name on a chart. Instead we are the “52% others”.

    Now: what would you suggest? Should we rally against cinemas and religious groups that don’t portrait our cause the right way or defame us as “intolerant”, “non-believing” or “lacking morality”?

    No we don’t. Because while we know that nobody will escape death, we also know that if you can’t laugh in life, you are already dead. We care for people more than we care for a cause, a certain interpretation or the will of a higher being. That’s why I’m an Atheist.
    Not because I’m not religious, but because I am.

  9. Nina, I was watching Sita sings the blues for the 2nd time today and props to you madam for your amazing creativity ! You have taken a timeless story and interpreted it in a way which only adds to it.

    In this you are in the exalted company of hundreds of famous and not so famous poets through the centuries who have all added, interpreted, translated and modified the Ramayana in all corners of India.

    Let me add that I am an Indian who is very proud of his heritage and is frequently pained by the blatant bias in which it is portrayed in popular media, temple of doom being a good example. Although I am an atheist as far as religion is concerned I am culturally hindu. hinduism allows one not to believe in god, so that’s not a problem in my society anyway.

    Unlike the naysayers I do not find anything offensive in your work. it is okay and even acceptable to be irreverent to gods in hinduism, where god is not an one-dimensional idea of a vengeful bearded man in the sky.
    in hinduism god or gods is/are what one thinks he/she/it is and there are devotional movements where one worships the god as a kid or as mother. I have to say, the protestors should go back home and learn about the religion that they profess to follow.

  10. I’m your Lord Jesus Christ and I’d urge Nina Paley to make such a movie on my life. I so used to love humor and that never turned up in the Bible [those freaking losers who changed the original copy]. Go ahead my child, Nina and I’ll attest your travel ticket to Heavens, and reserve a special place right beside Papa once you decide to take leave of Earth.

    Good luck and I love you all!

    PS: Paigambar Mohammad just dropped by and thinks it’s a great idea to have a similar movie on his life which can be published especially in the Middle-East. He bargained with me to let you stay in his quarters in Heaven for at least half a week [just using your terminology]; he’ll keep the virgin boys ready for you. 😉

    PPS: This is just unbelievable, Moses just blurted in and kicked our asses. Guess what, he doesn’t want to get left out either. Of course, he wants his movie to be published in Israel and he’s going to talk to some of his followers to even give you the funding you need. Kudos babe, you’ve done it!

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