Is the currently shooting Julia Roberts movie "Eat, Pray, Love" preventing some villagers in India from doing that middle thing in the title? The BBC reports that the extreme security measures in place to protect the toothy Oscar winner have left worshippers looking to celebrate an important Hindu festival steaming mad, and directing their ire in her famous direction.
Seems the flick, in which Julia stars as a recent divorcee on a yearlong spiritual journey, has been filming at the Hari Mandir temple near New Delhi during the nine-day festival of Navratri, honoring the goddess Durga, and the production's "presidential"-sized security detail (one estimate puts the number of guards at a hard-to-believe 350) has barred locals from entering.
"It's the holiest time of the year," kvetches a worshipper, "and we are being stopped from visiting our own temple. It's outrageous."
More than two hundred policemen have supposedly been stationed inside and outside the temple to keep devotees at a distance, with one officer explaining, "Nobody can breach this cover and no outsider is allowed to enter the ashram, no matter whosoever he or she is. We have strict instructions."
Additional over-the-top security for Roberts is said to include 40 armed guards, three bulletproof cars and a hovering helicopter to keep an eye on things from above.
In an apparent attempt to defuse tensions caused by the production's takeover of the temple, the megastar posed on Tuesday with the ashram's owner, Swami Dharmadev, who tells India Today (via Hello!) that the actress brought along her three kids, 4-year-old twins Hazel and Phinnaeus and 2-year-old Henry.
Julia even did her homework for the meet-and-greet, presenting the tots using Indian names.
"I was surprised when she introduced them as Mahalax mi, Krishna Balaram and Ganesha," notes the swami. "I tied the Raksa Sutra [sacred thread] around their wrists. We then sat and spoke for about half an hour … I do know she is very impressed with Indian culture."
Roberts' rep did not respond to our request for comment on the temple kerfuffle or her rumored army of minders.
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