You're not licensed to thrill: Pakistan bans new movie by Bollywood's James Bond

 

His name is Vinod ... Agent Vinod. He can shoot two pistols simultaneously while diving through the air, disarm nuclear weapons and drive sports cars at terrifying speeds through narrow streets without breaking sweat.

But despite his many talents, India's answer to James Bond has been unable to find his way into cinemas in neighbouring Pakistan.

The highly anticipated Bollywood blockbuster, Agent Vinod, named after the film's central character, was scheduled to open last week in Lahore and Karachi, but Pakistan's Film Censor Board, has banned the film for its negative portrayal of the country's intelligence agency, the ISI.

"It was our judgment that it should not be allowed to be screened," the vice-chairman of the board, Muhammad Ashraf Gondal, told the Associated Press. "It falls under the negative codes of our censor."

The ban marks the latest cultural battle in a cold war between the two nuclear-armed countries that has occasionally erupted into violence – animosity is rarely far from the surface.

Pakistan and India were founded in 1947 after the break up of the British empire. Since then, they have fought three major wars, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir. The ISI is accused of sponsoring Islamist groups who have carried out attacks against its neighbour, and many believe it still maintains support for the Taliban in an effort to counter Indian influence.

It is against this backdrop of suspicion and covert war that the film is set. Agent Vinod, a spy from India's Research and Analysis Wing, travels to Morocco, Moscow and Afghanistan in an attempt to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in his country. The film shows Pakistani officials encouraging terror attacks in India and financing Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group founded with the ISI's support in the 1990s, which is focused on pressuring India to give up Kashmir.

Despite the controversy about the film, the actor who plays Vinod rejected claims that it gave an unfair portrayal. "If you feel this is unreasonable or not true, then it is fair enough," Saif Ali Khan said in an interview with the Indo-Asian News Service. "I think it is all quite true."

Khan, 41, who also co-produced the movie, added: "Agent Vinod is for Indians but it is not against Pakistanis. But I understand if they get upset because we are beating them up quite often in the film."

Agent Vinod is not the first Bollywood film to be prohibited in Pakistan. The government banned all Indian movies in 1965 after a war between the countries.

It lifted the measure in 2008 but has continued to block certain films. It banned an Indian comedy about Osama bin Laden in 2010, claiming it could spark terror attacks.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower