Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Bollywood tackles London attacks

A film based on the 7 July 2005 suicide bombings on London's transport system will hit the screens by next year, director Jagmohan Mundhra has said.

The Los Angeles-based Indian director said the film, Shoot On Sight, is mostly fictional but takes incidents that really happened as its basis.

One involves the shooting dead by UK police of a Brazilian man in the wake of the bombings that killed 52 people. Investigations later revealed that Jean Charles de Menezes was innocent.

Mundhra told the BBC News website that in the script, the person shot dead is a Muslim boy. Once the authorities realise they have made a mistake, they try to cover it up and get a Muslim policeman to act as the spokesman for the case.

The lead role of the policeman is based on the real-life Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur. Mundhra said: "I noticed after 7 July suddenly Mr Ghaffur's presence was seen a lot on television addressing the media on behalf of Scotland Yard so I did go and meet him. But my character is a fictional composite."

He said he met two people who were in one of the trains when the blasts took place. However he did not meet the families of the suicide bombers.

Mundhra said the film showed both sides of the story. "Basically the fact that there is a silent majority of Muslims who are not fundamentalist, and they needed a role model, they needed a character to represent them and that is the lead actor of my film, you know, " he said. "The circumstances, everything forces him to take one way but he chooses the right path."

Initially, Mundhra had offered the policeman's role to top Bollywood actor, Amitabh Bachchan, but the actor did not take it. Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah then took on the role. He previously appeared as Captain Nemo in the 2003 Hollywood film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Om PuriWreckage of bombed bus at Tavistock Square
Another Indian actor, Om Puri, has been enlisted to play the role of a fundamentalist Muslim Imam. He, too, has acted in various international films including the British hit East is East.

British actors Greta Scacchi and Claire Bloom have also agreed to star in the film and will play the roles of Shah's wife and mother respectively.

The film will be shot from 21 May to 14 July and the director hopes to finish it before the year end.

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