Indian film Tere Bin Laden, which stars singer-turned-actor Ali Zafar, has not been cleared for release by the Pakistani censor board over fears of terrorist attacks.
Tere Bin Laden, scheduled for a worldwide release on July 16, marks the acting debut of Pakistani pop star Zafar in the Indian film industry.
Pakistan's Film Censor Board decided not to clear the film because it has Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden as a central character.The Board announced its decision yesterday after watching the film. Censor Board Vice Chairman Masood Elahi told the media there is no justification for releasing the film in Pakistan under the "present circumstances".
Sources said the film was not cleared by the Censor Board due to fears of terrorist attacks.
The federal Culture Secretary is authorised to allow the exhibition of the film under special powers bestowed on him, Elahi said.
Zafar, who has a huge fan following in Pakistan, plays a journalist in the film directed by Abhishek Sharma. He had formed a new company to distribute the movie in Pakistan.
Due to sensitivities linked with the title and fears about a reaction from Taliban and other militant groups, distributors had drawn up plans to drop 'Laden' from the film's title and release it as Tere Bin in Pakistan.
Zafar expressed disappointment at the Censor Board's decision. He appealed to Pakistani authorities to review the decision, saying there is nothing controversial in the film.
Bollywood star Salman Khan and filmmaker Karan Johar recently appreciated Zafar's performance and the film in comments posted on social networking website Twitter.
Tere Bin Laden is a tongue-in-cheek comedy about an ambitious reporter from Karachi who is desperate to migrate to US. His repeated attempts to immigrate are shot down as he is not granted a visa by American authorities.
The reporter then comes across a bin Laden lookalike and hatches a scheme to produce a fake video of the Al Qaida leader and sell it to news channels as a breakthrough scoop.
Problem arises when the White House gets involved and dispatches an overzealous secret agent on Laden's trail.