Pakistan censors took a dim view of the picture
PAKISTAN has banned India’s James Bond, outlawing a high-octane Bollywood action flick in which an Indian secret agent thwarts Pakistani spies from detonating a nuclear bomb in Delhi.
Agent Vinod, which grossed $9.7m on its opening weekend, shows an Indian agent jetting around the world, dodging assassins to save his country from nuclear armageddon plotted by rogue Pakistani spies and terrorists.
Saif Ali Khan, its producer and star, has defended the film, but unsurprisingly Pakistani censors took a dim view.
‘The film contains anti-Pakistan material,’ the Film Censor Board’s deputy chairman Ashraf Gondal told reporters.
The Bollywood Bond comes at a sensitive time for Pakistan’s intelligence service, still reeling from its apparent failure to realise that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden spent years living in the garrison city of Abbottabad.
Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani terror group which the film shows ISI agents colluding with, was blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead and which ruptured peace talks between India and Pakistan for three years.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947 and came to the brink of nuclear conflict in 2002.
‘Our film shows that there are good Pakistanis and bad Pakistanis. There are people who want to be friends with India and there are people who want to create trouble in India. We have shown both the sides,’ Khan said last week.
Although Pakistan is among the top five Bollywood markets, the country has frequently banned films for allegedly maligning Pakistan or Muslim sensitivities.
Most recently censors refused permission for Tere bin Laden in 2010, which poked fun at bin Laden. The board claimed it would incite suicide attacks.
Pakistan’s own film industry has been ravaged by Islamisation and has found itself unable to compete with the huge popularity of Bollywood productions.
Jalaluddin Hassan, secretary of the Pakistan Film Producers Association, said last year that just 15 movies were produced. The country has 230 cinemas compared to 1,000 in the late 1980s, he added.
Asked to comment on the Agent Vinod ban, he said: ‘What do you expect from Indian films? There, leaders have been saying we do not need to wage a war on Pakistan. We will defeat them culturally.’
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