"In some ways, India is a horrible place. It's corrupt, violent; there are inequities that are disturbing," he told the Hindustan Times. "At the same time, the place gave us Mahatma Gandhi. It's a place of idealism and corruption."
Now Rajan Zed, the chairman of the Indo-American Leadership Confederation, is asking Martel, a Canadian author, to apologize for his statements, calling the writer's criticism of "such [a] culturally, religiously and philosophically rich country" "highly illogical and irrational."
Martel's book tells the story of an Indian boy who survives many months at sea after a shipwreck, accompanied by a slew of animals. The film was directed by Ang Lee, and was filmed in India, Canada and Taiwan.
This isn't the first time Martel has dished out criticism of India. He also called the country horrible in a 2002 interview with Outlook India, explaining, "It's horrible in the sense that the rule of law is so arbitrary. But the upside is that given the diversity, it's amazing how it still holds itself together. It's a country that dazzles me because it's all of life."