Bipasha Basu’s film banned in Middle East

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The United Arab Emirates has not cleared Rahul Dholakia’s Lamhaa, starring Sanjay Dutt and Bipasha Basu. The film was due for release in the Middle East on Thursday.

Earlier, the film’s screening was cancelled due to tension in the Kashmir valley. Lamhaa is a story of an army officer played by Sanjay and his love for a girl, played by Bipasha. The film also stars Kunal Kapoor and Anupam Kher. The film, which had raised eyebrows in India too, wonders whether wisdom will prevail in the valley so that Kashmiris are not crucified in the name of politics.

Shooting in the valley was disrupted after political parties had protested. The film’s crew had also come under attack from a radical Muslim party. This forced Bipasha to return to Mumbai, but she went back when security was tightened.

Reacting to the board decision, Dholakia said, “It’s extremely outrageous. The censor board should watch this film in totality before taking such stringent action. If the Indian board can pass the film, it shows that we have not crossed the line.”

Dholakia’s earlier film Parzania had also run into controversy. It dealt with the Godhra riots, a flashpoint between the filmmaker and radical Hindu outfits in Gujarat. The film’s screening was disrupted in many states and was pulled out of many theatres as owners feared attacks. Starring Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika, it showed a true life story of a 10-year-old Parsi boy.

On Lamhaa, producer Bunty Walia said, “It is very disheartening. The ban came at the nth hour. It seems unfair especially since Lamhaa was made to convey sentiments of peace and love.” Walia added, “There are no scenes that they want me to remove. They have refused to screen Lamhaa.”

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