Portraying Pakistan: Hindu protesters disrupt Bin Laden movie shoot in India

By AFP
Published: March 2, 2012

We don't want Pakistani flags in India, we don't agree that Indian markets should look like Pakistan, says protestor. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

NEW DELHI: Right-wing Hindu activists on Friday disrupted shooting for Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow’s movie on the hunt for al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, protesting at the use of Indian locations to portray Pakistan.

Members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) stormed the set in Chandigarh – the northern Indian city famously designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier – where Bigelow’s crew had been shooting for four days.

The location was a Chandigarh market, which the production company had transformed with shop-board signs in Urdu, auto rickshaws with Abbottabad number plates and burqa-clad extras.

“They removed signs that had been put up in Urdu and also pushed and abused the camera crew. They raised slogans against Pakistan and forcibly removed some Pakistani flags,” a local police officer told AFP by telephone.

“We don’t want Pakistani flags on Indian soil and we don’t agree that Indian markets should look like Pakistan,” said Punjab VHP Secretary Ramkrishna Srivastava.

Under the working title ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ Bigelow’s latest film recounts the hunt for Bin Laden, which ended when US special forces raided his hideout in Abbottabad last May, killing the al Qaeda leader.

With filming in Pakistan not an option, there has been intense media speculation about what locations might be chosen by Bigelow, who won the 2010 Oscar for Best Director for ‘The Hurt Locker’.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2012.

Reader Comments (43)

  • yajsingh
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:12PM

    Hypocrisy of VHP.
    Gawd! i want to see this movie!

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  • Mr. Righty rightist
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:18PM

    What the hell is the matter with these loonies.

    I don’t mind them protesting islamic fundamentalism, bigotry, conversion etc…

    However protesting a film shoot is ridiculous to the core.

    I get a feeling that there’s some local politics involved in this, otherwise, there’s absolutely no reason to protest a film shoot.

    I know for a fact that in the past RSS and VHP have opposed similar shoots and later it has been learnt that the real reasons were local politics more than religious or nationalistic sentiments.

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  • Mar 2, 2012 - 6:22PM

    What s bunch of idiots! This is India’s chance to get an Oscar!

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  • unbeliever
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:33PM

    well they were justified because it’s really shameful that tribune does not publish the complete news.
    the traders and ordinary businessman had lost a business of 2 crore during shooting, because of various jams and security checks.
    it was a combined agitation by traders of chandigarh and vhp.

    regarding pakistani flag on indian soil, well you know how hypocrite our (yes both hindu and muslim brigades )extremist wings are?

    and i have a question:

    will pakistani extremists allow indian flag on their soil?

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  • Mar 2, 2012 - 6:34PM

    Another media attraction stunt by VHP.
    by the way, it is not hundus protesting, instead it is VHP protesting.

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  • well-wisher
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:39PM

    These are some misguided individuals who indulge in such gimmics only to attract publicity. Police acted swiftly and shooting of the film is going on un-interrupted.

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  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:43PM

    India India such protests are often stage managed by the film producers to promote the movie. Its a very low cost but very effective publicity method. You will hear more of them till movie is released.

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  • Salman
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:51PM

    Good to see Indian hatred and extremism exposed in front of American directors/actors that these Indians are not saint and their hatred against Pakistan is genuine.

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  • Falcon
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:53PM

    @Rajendra Kalkhande:
    Lolzz…I think there is certainly some veracity to your claim since the last movie of the same director…’Hurt Locker’ was also a low-budget movie. This might not be a bad marketing campaign after all!

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  • antanu g
    Mar 2, 2012 - 7:03PM

    @unbeliever:
    wow….what a justification…who would believe it. come out with saner excuses bro…truth is that extremist monsters are roaming on both sides of the borders and in this regard India or Pakistan can claim to be holier than thou.But as a civilized persons we should accept the truth instead of hiding behind excuses.

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  • antanu g
    Mar 2, 2012 - 7:06PM

    @Vishnu D Dutta:
    and VHP is the real cousin of TTP

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  • Shyam
    Mar 2, 2012 - 7:18PM

    @antanu g
    and VHP is the real cousin of TTP

    Did VHP blow the set up?? Does it carry automatic weapons?? Does VHP control part of India where security forces are afraid to go?? Maybe for you pushing and abusing is the same as blowing them up. LMAO about your comment.

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  • Karan
    Mar 2, 2012 - 8:29PM

    I am from Chandigarh, I did not able to get a chance to watch this shooting may be on Sunday I will watch, but really yaar my father and I also read this news in local newspaper, my city just look like Pakistan, and I did not even heard about this so called Hindu protest,even if it is happened (may be so small) people ignored it, they cant disrupt the shooting……

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  • Paras Vikmani
    Mar 2, 2012 - 9:05PM

    Nobody takes VHP,RSS seriously.
    They want publicity, that’s all.

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  • gp65
    Mar 2, 2012 - 9:10PM

    @TightChuddi: “What s bunch of idiots! This is India’s chance to get an Oscar!

    Unclear how this is India’s chance to get an OScar just because a small part of the movie is shot i India. I agree by the way that the shooting should not be disrupted. The concern about Pakistani flag on indian soil is legitimate. I am sure the producers can find a different way of portraying Pakistan.

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  • Indian Kid
    Mar 2, 2012 - 9:13PM

    Some jobless members of VHP wanted some media sunshine. LOL…

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  • gp65
    Mar 2, 2012 - 9:18PM

    @antanu g: “truth is that extremist monsters are roaming on both sides of the borders “

    True upto a point. But there is a vast difference in scope:
    1) VHP people were not carrying guns
    2) They have not blown up mosques or temples
    3) Unlike DPC’s meetings where Jehad against India is threatened and such a meeting is attended by the most popular political party in Pakistan today – no serious political party leader attends meetings where such statements are made.
    4) Unlike LeT, VHP has never sent people to Pakistan to create teror there.

    @Tribune : The title should have said VHP protesters. Not Hindu protesters. If TTP blows up a mosque your title does not say Muslims blow up a mosque – does it?

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  • Mark
    Mar 2, 2012 - 10:06PM

    @ gp65………but then Hindu, here means Indians…………….this is the local/popular way of thinking.

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  • unbeliever
    Mar 2, 2012 - 10:07PM

    @Salman:
    we don’t need to run in front of americans to claim how liberal we are.
    neither do we require any sort of certificate of liberalism from anyone, be they american or european.

    and protest is the most basic form of freedom in any democracy. everybody has the rigth to differ. .

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  • Truth Seeker
    Mar 2, 2012 - 10:54PM

    @gp65: @unbeliever:

    “The concern about Pakistani flag on indian soil is legitimate.”

    I guess some retrospection is called for India being granted MFN status. If Indians cannot tolerate Pakistani Flag even in a movie shooting, will they buy and consume products made in Pakistan. The end result would be only one sided trade at the cost of Pakistani industry.

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  • Shakky
    Mar 2, 2012 - 10:57PM

    Extremists of any persuasion are a bad thing, regardless of whether they are Muslim or Hindu. The Hindu extremists in this particular incident are no different from Hafiz Saeed and his fellow chauvinists.

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  • Arvind
    Mar 2, 2012 - 10:58PM

    @Tightchuddi,
    get your knowledge tight India has produced 4 Oscar winners already. Google it!!

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  • Pollack
    Mar 2, 2012 - 11:01PM

    @antanu g: VHP is in the kids league while Pakistan groups like TtP, JUD etc are in the super league when it’s comes to violence and bigotry but VHP is trying to get there in the super league with not much success. Such uncivilized behaviour is not tolerated in India unlike Pakistan.

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  • Truth Seeker
    Mar 2, 2012 - 11:07PM

    @gp65: @unbeliever:

    “The concern about Pakistani flag on indian soil is legitimate.”

    I guess some retrospection is called for before India is granted MFN status. If Indians cannot tolerate Pakistani Flag even in a movie shooting, will they buy and consume products made in Pakistan. The end result would be only one sided trade at the cost of Pakistani industry.

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  • Bangladeshi
    Mar 2, 2012 - 11:08PM

    Wow so much hatred by INDIANS. I have seen in express tribune that pakistanis want to have
    brotherly relations with INDIANS but if you check out TOI or hidustan times people would know the true face RSS brainwashed indians. These indian bigots perfectly justifies 1947 partition.
    I can’t even begin to imagine what the state of muslims would have been in an united india under such bigots. It seems they have hatred in their blood..

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  • Indian
    Mar 2, 2012 - 11:53PM

    This protest was arranged by traders. ET has distorted it.. May be a mistake.. but they should check it again. Pls from next time don’t use the word hindu. You can use VHP etc…

    Everyone is entitled to protest. Nobody was killing anyone..

    And 2nd thing you can not expect 100% people supporting good indo-pak relations…Non-violent protest without hate speeches against pakistan should be considered as natural thing..

    Yesterday There was big protest in delhi against china for “free tibet” movement. And protestors were forcefully taken away by police unfortunately. These non-violent protests happens in India..

    In fact there was more protest against Indo-US nuclear deal in India than current Indo-pak relations :)… But govt went ahead with it… India is different kind of democracy and not a monolithic one..

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  • unbeliever
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:34AM

    @Bangladeshi:

    you do have a short memory. did you forgot that while you were crying under pakistani subjugation, we hindus were the one who helped you….. or is it that muslim killing muslim is not as bad as infidels killing muslims.

    can you ever account for how many hindus you killed during your murderous invasions. and still expect us to love you. ok, history is something that has happened, let’s forget about it, because we were not a party to it. then why such madness now. why so many more blasts killing innocents in india.

    you know even if we try to forget past, you would not let us because it is there you live and it is in past that you were ahead of us.

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  • gp65
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:49AM

    @Shakky: “Extremists of any persuasion are a bad thing, regardless of whether they are Muslim or Hindu. The Hindu extremists in this particular incident are no different from Hafiz Saeed and his fellow chauvinists”.

    I totally agree with your first staement and totally disagree with yor second statement. There is absolutely no comparison between VHP actions versus actions of Hafiz Saeed. Secondly there is a wide difference in terms of how the Indian state responds to pranks by VHP compared to how the Pakistani state responds to Hafiz Saeed.

    By the way the big bogey that is created in Pakistan is that India somehow wants to swalow Pakistan and undo partition. Hopefully it is clear that eve Hindu extremists do not want Pakistan as part of India. I do not agree with their intolerance and neither did the local police. This is the difference compared to the Rawalpindi situation where the local police sided with Sunni bulies in oppressing Ahmadis who were prevented from going to their own place of worship.

    @Truth Seeker “I guess some retrospection is called for India being granted MFN status. If Indians cannot tolerate Pakistani Flag even in a movie shooting, will they buy and consume products made in Pakistan. The end result would be only one sided trade at the cost of Pakistani industry”.

    Not flying Pakistani flag in india is not an act of chauvinism just as not flying Indian flag in Pakistan (except ofcourse the Indian embassy) would not be considered an act of chauvinism. It has nothing to do with buying goods or services. Indians do not fly the Chinese flags also (except in the Chinese embassy) but we have a trade of 70 bilion with China. So do not bring the MFN into this. And any way you cannot review something that has not yet happened. Pakistan has not yet given India the MFN it simply PLANS to do it in December while Inida gave Pakistan the MFN status in 1996.SO yes things are a bit one sided at the moment but in exactly the opposit direction to what you are indicating.

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  • gp65
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:54AM

    @Bangladeshi: “I can’t even begin to imagine what the state of muslims would have been in an united india under such bigots”

    You do not HAVE to imagine. There are 150 million Muslims in India that proudly call themselves Indian. Unlike Ahmadis and Shias in Pakistan they are not persecuted for their faith.

    Alsoif you are truly a Bangladeshi then you know which country you broke away from in 1971 and who persecuted you. Yuo also know which country Bangldeshis immigrated to – not just in 1971 for safety but contnue to do so even today for economic opportunity.

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  • gp65
    Mar 3, 2012 - 12:58AM

    @Bangladeshi: “I can’t even begin to imagine what the state of muslims would have been in an united india under such bigots”

    First of all VHP does not represent all Hindus let alone representig all Indians. Secondly having problems with Pakistan is NOT the same as having problems with Muslims. Pakistanis may use the word Hindu and India synonymously (thuogh they shouldn’t). But Indians do not use the term Pakistani and Muslim synonymously. We cannot because we have 150 million Muslims who are our compatriots – who CHOSE not to migrate to Pakistan and CHOSE to maintain their Indian identity..

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  • Mumbai Kid
    Mar 3, 2012 - 2:10AM

    VHP are jokers and is well accepted fact in India. But lets put it simply, can any common man here who are proudly making a note dare to stand up to such goons ? No ! A common can do nothing but vent out their frustration here in such forums or blogs. And our silence or incapacity to bring these handful extremists under control or keeping them on leash what gives the whole nation / or religious section a bad name.
    So instead of picking on such isolated bunch of loosers to judge the whole nation, please gather the complete fact. How much ever Pakistanis will disagree or not like to hear this, India did punish and sentenced the Samjhauta express terrorists. And they did it without any help or proof from Pakistan. This shows our sincerity and this shows tat Indians do not support any group whether they belong to hindu , sikh or muslim to get away with act of terrorism. Has Pakistan done any such thing in past and present to claim the same ? NO….a big NO. And it does not even show any will to investigate the mumbai case, just flat denial and dragging it’s feet since last twoa years to even send their judicial commission to gather facts, nor do allow voice match of the suspects. There it is, right on your face, Pakistan says aloud to India ” yes we hide terrorists, what can you do about it”.

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  • gp65
    Mar 3, 2012 - 4:09AM

    @Mark: “@ gp65………but then Hindu, here means Indians…………….this is the local/popular way of thinking”

    That maybe so and that would make the title even more inaccurate. Because if VHP does not represent all Hindus, it represents ALL Indians even less.

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  • Deb
    Mar 3, 2012 - 4:13AM

    @ET

    Correction. It’s VHP protesters, not Hindu protesters.

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  • Senthilman
    Mar 3, 2012 - 5:00AM

    Everyone should not blame Bangladeshi, he just got snapped because his glorious leader’s biographical movie got spoiled by few Indians.
    Brother don’t worry about Muslims in India they live in peace and Harmony but if you are very worried you can start giving asylum and you will know how many will come to Bangladesh or Pakistan (or wherever you are).

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  • Truth Seeker
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:05AM

    @gp65:
    “Pakistan has not yet given India the MFN it simply PLANS to do it in December while Inida gave Pakistan the MFN status in 1996.SO yes things are a bit one sided at the moment but in exactly the opposit direction to what you are indicating.”

    US$ 3.5 billion exports vs US$ 0.4 billion imports by India – without MFN status – tells all.

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  • BlackJack
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:46AM

    @Truth Seeker:
    Pls take into account the trade that is also taking place through Dubai as well as illegally, which would (at least) double this figure. However, the fact is that the political climate has never allowed the economic opportunities of sourcing from Pakistan to really gain wind – now this is slowly happening, and I am sure both India and Pakistan will benefit. On the topic of this article, as most of my compatriots have repeated ad nauseum, VHP is not even a political outfit, it is a bunch of North Indian right-wingers with a lot of free time. It does not represent the views of even 1% of the Hindus, let alone Indian population. It is possible to create a feel of Pakistan without flying flags all around – I don’t see Indian flags everywhere when I visit India. And linking (possible) trade some time in the future to a foreign movie shoot disruption in one corner of the country is yet another sign of the wonderful imagination that you guys have on all matters related to India.

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  • ashok sai
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:59AM

    @Truth Seeker:

    US$ 3.5 billion exports vs US$ 0.4 billion imports by India – without MFN status – tells all.

    Tells what, it tells about your incompetence, by your logic, Pakistan should only trade with Somalia and Sudan.

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  • ashok sai
    Mar 3, 2012 - 10:11AM

    @Deb:
    @gp65:

    Sharia aspiring nation like Pakistan cannot conceive words like secularism, tolerance, etc. Probably insecurity of being called ‘Muslim nation’ has a telling effect in placing the title like this.

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  • ashok sai
    Mar 3, 2012 - 10:14AM

    @antanu g:

    Pathetic Pakistani, I pity you !

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  • Truth Seeker
    Mar 3, 2012 - 2:41PM

    @ashok sai:

    US$ 3.5 billion exports vs US$ 0.4 billion imports by India – without MFN status – tells all.

    “Tells what, it tells about your incompetence, by your logic, Pakistan should only trade with Somalia and Sudan.”

    And Indian mindset have nothing to do with this at all. If we can export billions of dollars worth of goods to developed countries where the competition is the highest, how we suddenly become incompetent while dealing with India?

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  • ashok sai
    Mar 3, 2012 - 3:34PM

    @Truth Seeker:

    Then why don’t you import US$ 3.5 billion worth of goods from the so called developed countries (would you mind naming few) ???

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  • unbeliever
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:23PM

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article2957628.ece

    have a look at this story in the hindu, and you will realise why it really takes a great conspiracy to disturb equilibrium in india, whereas in pakistan it just demands a lecture by a mullah.

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  • J T
    Mar 4, 2012 - 12:07PM

    Although completely deplorable and shameful, I think the real reason for this so called “protest” was money. The traders were claiming losses because of the blocking of the bazaar, which meant no business for a few days. However, I read in another Indian paper that the shooting resumed once the traders agreed on a settlement. For those who think Indians have a problem with Indian places being portrayed as Pakistan, there’s this movie called “A mighty heart,” which was almost completely shot in Pune, India and it was supposed to mirror Karachi. And for the record, I liked the idea that an Indian city could be made to pass off as a Pakistani city. Cheers!

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