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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 12:45 GMT
Author protests over Taleban film
Actress Manisha Koirala, who stars in the film
Actress Manisha Koirala plays the part of Sushmita Bandopadhyay
An Indian author whose ordeal under the Taleban was turned into a Bollywood blockbuster has accused film-makers of twisting her story and cheating her out of payment.

Sushmita Bandopadhyay, who was sentenced to death for trying to escape from a Taleban-controlled area, told her story in a book that became the film Escape from Taliban.

The film was a hit in Indian cinemas in February, but Bandopadhyay said film-makers fabricated scenes of abuse.

She is planning to remake the film in Bengali and put her story on the stage to "set records straight".

The film was based on Bandopadhyay's autobiography, Kabuliwala's Bengali Bahu (Afghan's Bengali Daughter-in-Law).

She moved to Afghanistan in 1989 after falling in love with an Afghan man she met in Calcutta.

I plan to make the film in Bengali to set records straight and a play to show what Afghanistan was under such a regime
Sushmita Bandopadhyay
But the Taleban gained control of the area where she lived after Russian forces pulled out following 10 years of war.

She tried to escape from her husband's village of Sarana in Paktika province, 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Kabul.

"I tried to escape because the Taliban had control of Paktika and for that I was whipped and earned a death sentence," Bandopadhyay said.

She fled to Kabul in 1995 and left for India the following year, seven months before the Taleban captured the capital.

The writer is now threatening legal action against producers and is complaining about the changes made.


"They paid me just 75,000 rupees ($1,560) for my book and then twisted it to show I was tortured by my husband and that he forced me to watch him have sex with his first wife... It never happened that way," she said.

The film also shows Bandopadhyay's character being tortured by the Taleban and ill-treated by her brothers-in-law.

Actress Manisha Koirala, who was named best actress at this year's Filmfare Awards, plays Bandopadhyay.

"Producer Ashok Khemka and (co-)director Ujjal Chatterjee cheated me and these two and Koirala suppressed me when I protested the changes in Escape from Taliban," Bandopadhyay said.

"I plan to make the film in Bengali to set records straight and a play to show what Afghanistan was under such a regime."

She is kicking up this ruckus to get more out of us
Ashok Khemka
But Mr Khemka said they paid her more than was agreed, and that Bandopadhyay accepted the script.

"The contract was for 25,000 rupees ($500) but we paid 50,000 extra," he said.

"She also okayed the script before the film was made. She is kicking up this ruckus to get more out of us."

The film is now expected to undergo a number of changes before being released around the world.

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