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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Chandigarh unhappy over protests against Osama movie

IANS  Chandigarh, March 05, 2012
First Published: 19:58 IST(5/3/2012) | Last Updated: 20:00 IST(5/3/2012)

Chandigarh artistes are unhappy over the protests against the shooting of Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" -- on the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Theatre personalities and others in the creative fraternity feel the demonstrations only show India in poor light.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Shiv Sena supporters shouted anti-Pakistan and anti-Osama slogans at the film shoot here last week.

They objected to the film unit using Pakistani flags, Urdu sign boards and other things to recreate Pakistani's Abbottabad city, where US special forces shot dead the elusive Al Qaeda chief last year.

"They are creating an issue out of nothing. Creativity should be left alone by these elements," Kuldeep Sharma, director of Tagore Theatre, the city's only theatre for arts and cultural activities, told IANS.

"If people have come to our country to shoot, they should be left to do it peacefully. If not here, they will pick some other city.

"The protesters should focus on other social issues instead of gaining mileage from such issues," Sharma said.

Others were equally upset.

"Just because the director is showing 'Pakistani streets' is not a fair reason to protest. I don't know what ideology these people have," said Zulfiqar Khan, a leading theatre director and actor.

"Whatever Kathryn is shooting will obviously be according to the script. Until the movie is released and we see it, what is the point of creating a fuss about the shooting?" Khan asked.

The Hollywood film crew, which has been in the city since last week, had ironically conducted Hindu prayers before starting work here.

Sudesh Sharma, director of Theatre for Theatre, was equally dismissive of the VHP and Shiv Sena.

"They need to bring some change in their thinking. I suppose only God can do that! Until a movie is ready, how can they question it?"

Satirist-actor Jaspal Bhatti is also upset.

"Creating a scene of Pakistan is part of the script. When 'Gadar' was shot, no one created a fuss on its shooting.

"The Pakistan shown in that movie was also made somewhere in India. It is the most illogical thing I have heard. It is an infringement of artistic activities," Bhatti told IANS.

Educationist and author Neel Kamal Puri agreed: "People need to be more open minded. I do not really see a reason to protest about. Kathryn is just doing her job."

The administration and police have defended the film unit, saying they have all the permission.

Police officer Rajesh Shukla told IANS: "When the government of India and Chandigarh administration have given the crew permission to shoot, how can we stop them?"

Local traders had also protested against the shooting in the Mani Majra suburb last week saying their business was being hit. The film unit reportedly paid Rs.700,000 to compensate the loss of trade.

Shukla said: "The market welfare association was aware of the shooting."

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