Osama Bin Laden film shoot hit by protests

Kathryn Bigelow project is challenged in India.

by Jennie Kermode

Kathryn Bigelow's new project Zero Dark Thirty, which details the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, has run into trouble in the Indian city of Chandigarh, where both Hindu and Muslim groups have protested beside the set. It is the latest in a series of controversies to affect the film, written by Mark Boal, details of which are still being kept tightly under wraps.

Last week the right wing group Vishwa Hindu Parishad protested against the film because it involved flying Pakistani flags in Indian territory (Chandigarh is standing in for Lahore). This week Muslim groups expressed concerns that the film is giving all Muslims a bad name and could inspire Islamophobia in India. Although religious conflict has been an ongoing problem in other parts of the nation, Chandigarh is generally peaceful. Some locals say they don't expect this to change but others are wary of anything that might trigger conflict.

A third group, local market traders, have complained that the closure of large parts of the city by the film crew has made it difficut for them to run their businesses. Although the Indian government is backing the project it is not clear that any compensation scheme has been offered to affected businesses. No comment has emerged from Bigelow's people, who are even keeping the names of their lead actors secret at this stage.

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