‘Osama’ filming disrupted by VHP activists

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Osama Bin Laden
New Delhi, Mar 2: The shooting of Kathryn Bigelow’s film on Osama bin Laden to depict killing of the al Qaeda leader in Abbottabad was stalled on Friday by activists of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) who objected to hoisting of Pakistani flags.

The crew was forced to cancel the shoot and move the cameras away after the protests when a few scenes of the film were being recreated by the Oscar-winning director at Manimajra town on the outskirts of the city.

VHP activists led by Vijay Singh Bhardwaj forcefully disrupted the shooting and removed the sign boards put in Urdu on few shops, a crew member said, adding the cameramen were also allegedly pushed and abused.

They raised slogans against Pakistan and removed its flags put in place to recreate the actual spot in Abbotabad where U.S. commandos killed the dreaded al Qaeda leader in a helicopter raid on May 2, 2011.

“They (the movie crew) are showing Chandigarh as Pakistan, this is not acceptable in any terms. Why should any place in India be converted to look like Pakistan? We will never allow Pakistan’s flags flying at places in the city where the shooting is taking place,” Mr. Bhardwaj said.

After the melee, the VHP activists went to police to register a formal complaint against the film’s director.

Bigelow later said no Pakistani flag will be put in place at the shooting areas.

Station House Officer (SHO) Rajesh Shukla assured VHP activists that Pakistani flags will not be permitted at the shooting locales after which they dispersed. No case has been registered, he said.

“Our objection is to hoisting of Pakistani flags,” Mr. Bhardwaj said.

The film’s crew has been shooting in prominent markets at the Punjab Engineering College here and at Patiala with shop boards in Urdu, auto-rickshaws with Lahore number plates, burqa-clad women and men in salwar-kameez, chappals and skullcaps.

The title of the film is being kept as a closely guarded secret but for now it is being talked about as ‘Zero Dark 30.’

PTI

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