Sunday, 18 July 2010
A Bollywood debut for Osama bin Laden
by Shilpa Jamkhandikar
Wednesday, July 7, 2010; 5:38 AM
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden is coming soon to a movie screen near you.
The al Qaeda leader is the subject of a Bollywood film "Tere Bin Laden" ("Without You Laden"), the story of an imaginative young television journalist who turns an encounter with a look-alike of Laden into his ticket to fame.
The journalist, played by Pakistani pop artist Ali Zafar, films a video with the look-alike, which goes viral quickly, and attempts to use his 15 minutes of fame to migrate to the United States after past attempts at getting a visa failed.
"The film looks to give a fresh perspective to the repercussions of 9/11 that a lot of people are facing but I want to do it through humor," director Abhishek Sharma told Reuters. "When he comes across a look-alike of bin Laden, he hits upon the idea of making a video. That video makes him famous and ironically, he has to use the U.S.'s biggest enemy to create a favorable impression of himself," Sharma said. This is not the first Bollywood film to focus on the September 11, 2001 attacks and their aftermath.
Over the past year, three big-budget films, including Shah Rukh Khan's "My Name is Khan" have focused on the subject. This is also not the first Bollywood film to focus on infamous personalities: A film on the last days of Hitler ran into controversy last month after Jewish groups protested, causing the lead actor to pull out of the film.
Previous films have also featured controversial personalities such as Indian outlaw Phoolan Devi and mafia don Dawood Ibrahim.
But Sharma says the low-budget "Tere Bin Laden," which opens across India on July 16, is not a serious film, and expects the audience to also treat it that way.
"It's a satire, and a mad comedy. I don't want to preach."
(Editing by Rina Chandran and Tony Tharakan)