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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Court clamps down on Bollywood tapes
Screenings of Chori Chori Chukpe Chukpe were under armed guard
Many film personalities have sought security
A Bombay court has restrained the media from publicising a taped conversation alleged to be between a leading gangster and a major Bollywood star.

It follows the release last week of a recording by police of what they said was a conversation between film star Sanjay Dutt and Chota Shakeel, a leading member of an organised crime syndicate.

The recording was submitted in court as evidence in an ongoing trial of one of Bollywood's biggest film financiers, Bharat Shah.

The police has alleged that Mr Shah has links with the criminal underworld.

Mr Shah has denied the charge.

On Monday his lawyer had appealed to the court to stop the conversations from being made public as it compromised the defense.


Following the publication of the conversation in the Indian media, an official in the state government pledged to offer security to any stars whose lives were thought to be in danger.

The police allege the tapes contain threats made against the lives of two other Bollywood superstars, Hrithik Roshan and Govinda.

The release of the tapes is reported to have created fresh security fears in the Bombay film industry.

Bharat Shah (right)
Bharat Shah is accused of mafia links
Police say a number of key film personalities have received threats in recent years.

Popular film actors Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan's father, film producer Rakesh Roshan, are among reported extortion targets for the gangsters.

Two weeks ago the Bombay police killed four gunmen, who, officials said had links with a notorious criminal gang.

They were allegedly on their way to kidnap one of Bollywood's top stars, Manisha Koirala.

Earlier this year the police shot dead a number of men said to be plotting the murder of film star Amir Khan and director Ashutosh Gowarikar, the team behind the Oscar-nominated "Lagaan".

Many believe the murder of top film producer Gulshan Kumar in broad daylight in 1997 was the first real indication of the underworld's growing hold in Bollywood.

"It was from then that the industry's people got scared as they believed that not even the police could save them," producer-director Mahesh Bhatt told the AFP news agency.

See also:

29 Jul 02 | South Asia
10 Apr 02 | Film
09 Mar 01 | South Asia
12 Feb 01 | South Asia
08 Jan 01 | South Asia
15 Dec 00 | South Asia
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