An animated short telling the story of one boy’s faith received an Oscar nomination for animated short film on Thursday, earning a share of the spotlight surrounding one of the year’s biggest award shows.
“Sanjay’s Super Team,” which played in theaters before showings of Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,” is a seven-minute film about a young Indian boy who loves superheroes more than his family’s Hindu faith.
“Sanjay would much rather watch cartoons and play with his action figures than join his father for puja, a daily Hindu ritual of meditation and prayer. But as the film progresses, Sanjay begins to imagine the gods he is praying to as superheroes, sparking his interest in Hinduism,” Religion News Service reported.
The article noted that it’s rare for Hinduism to be featured in the popular media, even as religion emerges as a popular theme in movies such as “Noah” or “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”
Suhag Shukla, executive director of the Hindu American Foundation, told RNS that she was thrilled for her faith to get its turn on a big stage.
“Shukla said that while growing up, she rarely saw characters who reflected her experience or the way she looked. She is excited for her two children to see the short film and thinks it is a step in the right direction,” RNS reported.
The animated short’s director, Sanjay Patel, based the film on his childhood experience, Cinema Blend reported, noting that his story “is bound to connect with children of all ages and races, as well as help those outside of the Hindu culture understand their deities a little better.”
Hindus compose 0.7 percent of the U.S. population, according to Pew Research Center.
Check out this clip from “Sanjay’s Super Team,” which shows Sanjay’s love of superhero cartoons interfering with his dad’s prayers.
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