Gulf states ban Bollywood film on Kashmir
Friday 16 July 2010
A hard-hitting Bollywood film about the sensitive issue of life in Indian Kashmir has been banned in a number of Gulf states, its makers said.
Five states - the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman - will not show "Lamhaa" (The Moment), which claims to tell the true story behind violence in the Muslim-majority region.
"We got the film cleared from the Indian government and there was nothing objectionable," director Rahul Dholakia told AFP. "But the Gulf film authorities didn't feel so. I am extremely disappointed."
Dholakia said he was shocked "Lamhaa" had been banned as he believed his film was about "peace and brotherhood".
Producer Bunty Walia said the film's Middle East distributor had confirmed the ban.
The film, which was released in India last Friday, stars the veteran actor Sanjay Dutt and female co-star Bipasha Basu.
"Ban on an honest film?? What happened to the freedom of expression??" Basu wrote on the micro-blogging website Twitter late Wednesday.
"Lamhaa" had already fallen foul of India's censors and Kashmiris themselves, as resentment of rule from New Delhi runs high in the volatile Himalayan region.
The Indian censor board took issue with promotional trailers for the thriller and reportedly objected to its description of Kashmir as "the most dangerous place in the world", forcing Dholakia to make cuts.
Locals were also reported to have forced the film crew to re-shoot a scene, angered at its depiction of the region which has been wracked by fighting and separatist protests for decades.
Conflict in Kashmir is a legacy of the partition of the Indian subcontinent after the end of British rule in 1947 and has been the trigger for two of three wars between India and Pakistan.
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