Utpal Borpujari

October 15, 2008

Shoot on Sight to be released in India minus inflammatory speech scene



By Utpal Borpujari


Shoot on Sight, the critically-acclaimed film by Jagmohan Mundhra that seeks to analyse the churning among Muslims consequent to the tagging of the religion with terrorist activities, will be released in India minus a segment containing an inflammatory speech by a fundamentalist Imam played by Om Puri.


The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has okayed the film for release in India after deleting the particular scene as well another scene depicting the sexual behaviour of the daughter of the Scotland Yard police officer Tariq Ali played by Naseeruddin Shah.


The English and Hindi versions of the film, which has been banned in Pakistan reportedly because Pakistani actor Mikaal Zulfikar plays a terrorist in the film, will be released in India on October 17.


The deletions, however, have left the film’s producers fuming. London-based producer of the film Arun Govil said, “I am extremely surprised by the decision of the Indian Censor board.”


“Whereas Bollywood films regularly show extensive amounts of nudity in most films that are regularly approved by the Indian (censor) board, there is nothing controversial about Shoot On Sight and it is a very well balanced film,” he claimed in a statement.


Apart from Shah, who has given a highly-controlled performance as the police officer whose nephew turns out to be an Islamic terrorist with planning to bomb London, and Puri who is brilliant as a hate-spewing cleric, the film’s cast also Greta Scacchi and Gulshan Grover.


The film has been screened at the Dubai International Film Festival and the Osian’s Cinefan film festival in Delhi and appreciated for its thematic treatment and some fine performances by its cast.

Shoot On Sight is named after an official order using the exact phrase following the July 2007 London bombings. It takes off with a scene inspired by the shooting of an innocent Brazilian youth in a London Metro station by police who suspected him to be a suicide bomber.

Incidentally, Mundhra has been reported as wondering why his film had been banned in Pakistan since Khuda Kay Liye, directed by Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor, had been allowed to be released in that country even though it too had Pakistani actors playing fundamentalists.

(An abridged version was published in Sakaal Times, www.sakaaltimes.com, 10-10-2008)

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