Monday, November 29, 1999

Muslims stop film shooting

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Kapurthala, May 16 -- Deputy Commissioner Raj Kamal Chaudhary has ordered the cancellation of shooting of Hindi film Tanu Weds Manu at Moorish Mosque in Kapurthala following protests by members of the Muslim community. The protesters assembled at the mosque on Friday when they found that the film's crew had put up a set in the premises. They asked film producer Shailesh Singh to furnish the permission for shooting in the mosque and raised slogans against the administration. SDM S.K. Singla and the city DSP reached the spot and asked the producer not to shoot the film, which has actors R. Madhavan, Jimmy Shergill and Kangana Ranaut in the lead. Anand Malhotra is the director of the film, which is a love story. When contacted, the Deputy Commissioner said that the producer had taken permission from the Wakf Board but the mosque was under the Archaelogical Survey of India's jurisdiction since it had been declared a national monument. Chaudhary said the film's crew did not inform the administration either about their plans to shoot scenes in the mosque. He said he had directed the SDM to stop the shooting following protests by the Muslim community. Abdul Gaffar and Aslam, who led the agitators, said shooting inside the mosque was against the tenets of Islam. They said they were against director Malhotra setting up a bazaar in the mosque premises. The situation was tense till late on Friday when the administration stepped in. Meanwhile, the film's land producer, Parvez Alam, said permission had been taken from the Archaeological Survey of India's Chandigarh office after depositing Rs 21,000 for two days of shooting at the mosque. He said a refundable security of Rs 50,000 was also deposited. Alam denied any plan to shoot inside the mosque and said the bazaar set had been put up outside. He said the film had suffered a loss of Rs 15 lakh on account of the improvised set of the bazaar, comprising 25 shops, put up outside the mosque. He said that the film's producer had the permission of the Deputy Commissioner and other departments to shoot in the town and had completed 14 days of shooting at the Government Rest House. The district administration had allowed the producer to convert the rest house into an ashram at a nominal charge of Rs 3,000 a day. The director allegedly defaced a portion of the rest house by converting it into an ashram.

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