Written by on Mar 5, 2012. Posted in Production News

Kathryn Bigelow’s Bin Laden feature faces protests on location in India

Filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow has run into trouble filming on location in India. The tentatively-titled Zero Dark Thirty deals with the US mission to track down Osama Bin Laden. It’s using India to double for Pakistan in some scenes, which has riled right-wing Hindus in India.

Bigelow’s team was denied permission to film on location in Pakistan, where Bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs in May 2011. Relations between the US and Pakistan were soured by the mission last year, and Pakistan is generally considered too dangerous to film in anyway.

Instead, the production made plans to film in Chandigarh, near the Pakistani border, doubling the Indian city for Lahore. With India-Pakistan relations historically strained, right-wing Hindus have objected to Pakistani flags, number plates and costumes springing up in Chandigarh.

They have made Chandigarh like Pakistan, as if it is Pakistan. We strongly oppose this and we will not let them put Pakistani flags here and we will not let them shoot for the film.

Vijay Bhardwaj, Vishva Hindu Parishad

Vijay Bhardwaj is a leader of the radical Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) Hindu group and spoke to Reuters: “They have made Chandigarh like Pakistan, as if it is Pakistan. We strongly oppose this and we will not let them put Pakistani flags here and we will not let them shoot for the film.”

Bigelow has a reputation for tackling politically-sensitive material. For the past few years she’s also been developing a feature called Triple Frontiers set in South America, which has already been denounced by the Governments of Argentina and Paraguay because of its intended focus on organised crime in the region.

(Main page image copyright: Jonathan Olley – © 2008 Summit Entertainment)

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