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Is Mallika Sherawat too hot for Pakistanis?

Welcome has run into trouble in Pakistan due to some allegedly "obscene" scenes featuring the sex siren of tinsel town Mallika Sherawat.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Islamabad
UPDATED ON FEB 20, 2008 04:40 PM IST

The Bollywood flick

Welcome

has run into trouble in Pakistan because of some allegedly "obscene" scenes featuring Mallika Sherawat.



Welcome

was released last Friday and was seen as an example of the Pakistan government's softening stance towards a long-standing ban on Indian films.



Pakistan's censor board has now reportedly objected to some shots featuring Sherawat, who is no stranger to controversy.



The film's release on this side of the border came days after a Pakistan Senate standing committee on culture recommended to the government that the exhibition of Indian films should be allowed under a proper censorship policy and the ban imposed in 1965 should be lifted.



Pakistan Cinema Owners' Association secretary general Safdar Khan said the censor board has handed over the censored version of the film to cinemas.



Cinema owners have been warned of strict action if they continue to show the uncensored version.



Jamshed Zafar, acting chairman of the Pakistan Film Distributors Association, said the audience has rejected the film's censored version.



Some scenes with Feroz Khan have also been reportedly cut because of the actor's anti-Pakistan rhetoric when he was in Pakistan in April last year.



Interestingly, Sherawat, the queen of item numbers, has for the first time in her career been shot aesthetically and does not look vulgar. In fact, some cinema-goers contend that Pakistani actresses are more vulgar than Sherawat.



Welcome

was released with much fanfare in Pakistan. Nadeem Mandviwalla, a well-known Karachi-based distributor and exhibitor, was very upbeat shortly before the release.



"The government has (previously) allowed Indian films which are not shot in India and made by producers not based there. But now the government has adopted a softer stance which is very good news for us," he said last week.



Apart from

Welcome

there are two other Indian movies --

Goal

and

Gangster

-- that are running in Pakistani halls.



The chairman of the Pakistan Senate committee on culture, Zafar Iqbal, had said that the panel had recommended to the government to allow exhibition of Indian films under a proper censorship policy.



Iqbal said this would ensure healthy competition and revive the struggling local film industry. Citing the example of the well-known Pakistani film

Khuda ke Liye

, he said "I don't think the apprehensions, that by allowing Indian films to be released we might destroy the local industry, are true."



The Pakistan government imposed a ban on the display of Indian films in cinema halls in 1965, although they are freely available in the form of pirated VCDs and DVDs.

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