Alexa

Pakistan delays decision on Bollywood 'bin Laden' film

Pakistan delays decision on Bollywood 'bin Laden' film

Pakistan on Friday delayed the review of a ban on an Indian Bollywood comedy poking fun at Osama bin Laden, which censors said was a threat to security and offensive to Muslims. Pakistani censors banned "Tere bin Laden" (Without you, Laden) before it was due to open at cinemas nationwide on Friday. Advertisements for the film in the Pakistani press have been accompanied by "subject to approval" notices.
The film is a spoof about a Pakistani reporter who wants to migrate to the United States and hopes his interview with a chicken farmer who is the spitting image of the world's most wanted man can get him the visa he has been denied.
Pakistani pop singer Ali Zafar plays the starring role, but the board of censors said the film could incite suicide attacks in a country already suffering Islamist militant bombings weekly if not daily.
Censors said the film ridiculed Pakistani society, was offensive to Muslims, portrays bin Laden as a "coward and ridiculous," contained vulgar language and could fan hostility among "fanatic and fundamentalist elements" in Pakistan.
Bombs and attacks blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have killed more than 3,560 people across the nuclear-armed country since government troops besieged a radical mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.
But the film's promoters appealed the ban as a violation of freedom of expression, forcing government officials to review the decision.
"I'm astonished they did this," said promoter Nadeem Mandviwala.
"There are many TV programs in Pakistan criticising the president, prime minister and everybody else in a comic way. Our society has become tolerant."