Filmmaker Rahul Dholakia's forthcoming movie Lamhaa which promises to tell the "untold story" of Kashmir has been banned in the Middle East and the director has labelled the censorship "undemocratic".
The film starring Bipasha Basu, Sanjay Dutt, Anupam Kher and Kunal Kapoor was banned because the censors in UAE reportedly found the content "highly objectionable" and the subject "controversial".
"It's ridiculous and undemocratic, the government of India has not objected towards the film, and the film is based on a part of India. I see no reason why any other country should have a problem with my film," Dholakia told PTI.
"The film is not anti-Islamic, there is no sex or nudity. They say the content is objectionable, I don't see how," he added.
Lamhaa, a film about the ever prevailing tension in Kashmir looks at factors like politics, army, police and militants which affect the daily lives of the common Kashmiri.
Dholakia, who had earlier wanted to premiere the film in Kashmir said that, in hindsight it was a insensitive choice and he is happy that he was denied permission.
"Kashmir is burning right now and it would have been really insensitive to hold a red carpet premiere during these times," he said.
Veteran actor Anupam Kher too expressed his disbelief over the ban.
"I am shocked to learn that Lamhaa is banned in Middle East. Why? Without even seeing the film. And we talk about progress and culture. Sad," Kher posted on his Twitter account.
The film releases all over India tomorrow and Dholakia hopes for a smooth release.
"Kashmir is a sensitive issue but there is nothing controversial about my film. Trouble arises when people don't see the whole and instead judge the parts," he said.
Meanwhile, actress Bipasha Basu who plays a Kashmiri girl in the film said, "Yes, there are sensitive issues involved here and that has to be kept in mind. However, to ensure that the writing is perfect so that nothing comes across as artificial or made up, Dholakia has done a lot of research on Kashmir".