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A Mighty Heart controversy

entertainment Updated: May 18, 2009 19:52 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

A Mighty Heart is the screen adaptation of Mariane Pearl’s memoir, A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Danny Pearl. It’s Pearl’s experience after her husband, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was abducted by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in early 2002 and subsequently murdered. Pearl was pregnant with their son Adam at the time.

Made by Brad Pitt’s production company, it features Angelina Jolie as the widow and Dan Futterman as the abducted journo. Some agitating black activists ran it down for it’s “whitewash” attempt, pointing out that Marianne Pearl was of “mixed race” which made the “white” Jolie an unsuitable choice.

Headline maker
The shoot in India—Pune and Mumbai— too made news for wrong reasons.. outrage over photographers being blocked, boys knocked off their bikes by fast cars and crammed trains getting even more packed because of “star” presence.

The incident that grabbed the headlines and lead to the star couple leaving in a huff, involved a shoot at Mumbai’s Anjuman-e-Islam School.

Things went smoothly till the gates were opened for parents to pick up their kids. The paparazzi and TV crews grabbed the opportunity to barrel in for Jolie shots. A day later, three of Jolie’s bodyguards—Thomas Edwards MacAdam, Robert Patrick Dunn and Michael Jon Brett—all British nationals, were arrested for “roughing up” children and their parents. They were also charged with “insult to religion and threatening to kill.”

Mohammed Yusuf Patni, general secretary of the school’s Parent Teacher Association, alleged that Jolie’s bodyguard had shoved aside one parent saying, “You bloody Indian.”

They were later released on a bail of Rs 25,000 each and a “horrified” Pitt apologised for the “terrible misunderstanding” saying it was completely antithetical to what the film was about. The couple left the country and haven’t returned.

In support
Earlier, an AP photographer had claimed that he had been punched and threatened with a gun on the set by the security. Another photographer had alleged that he had been attacked outside Jolie’s hotel in Pune.

Irrfan Khan who accompanied Pitt when he visited police commissioner AN Roy, had stood up for the couple saying that “Brad would have never employed racially prejudiced people.”