[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Pakistan bans Bin Laden comedy film
Film censor fears Bollywood comedy could trigger violent reprisals from extremists.
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2010 17:21 GMT
In an unusual casting move, Pakistani actor Ali Zafar stars in the Bollywood film [Walkwater Media]

Pakistan's film censor board has banned an Indian comedy film featuring a lookalike of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Wednesday's ban had been anticipated on grounds that extremists could use it as a pretext to launch attacks.

The film was set for release in Pakistan and elsewhere on Friday.

The Hindi film, "Tere Bin Laden", which means "Without You, Bin Laden", is about a Pakistani journalist who pretends to score an interview with the elusive al-Qaeda chief after finding a look-alike. By selling his "breakthrough scoop" to news channels he hopes to increase his chances to immigrate to the US.

Pakistan's film censor board decided that because of the bin Laden connection, the movie could trigger new attacks in a nation already suffering from them, said a senior board member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He noted that the decision could be appealed.

The 57-member board is made up of members from media organisations, public representatives and religious leaders.

There were reports that the producers of the film would release it in Pakistan by just the name "Tere Bin" to downplay the focus on the al-Qaeda leader, who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Although it is a Bollywood film, "Tere Bin Laden" is unusual because it stars a Pakistani actor and pop star, Ali Zafar.

It's not unprecedented for Pakistan to ban films, especially if linked to its longtime arch rival India, but the impact of such censorship is likely to be limited.

Pirated movies are easily secured in Pakistan, where there are chains of stores that specialise in them. Indian films are popular in Pakistan, although only some make it to the big screens.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list