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Wednesday, 28 March, 2001, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Bollywood star in dress row
Sonali Bendre
Bendre has already faced one court case
A leading Indian film actress is in trouble over a dress she wore three years ago.

Bombay police arrested Bollywood star Sonali Bendre on Tuesday, for an "offensive" picture of her on a magazine cover.


We arrested her... for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings

Police inspector Nandkumar Gopal
Bendre was seen in a short, ochre-coloured top inscribed with Hindu religious phrases on the cover of the March 1998 issue of Showtime, an entertainment monthly.

"She was semi-nude in the picture and the dress she was wearing had Hindu religious symbols," reports quoted the investigating officer as saying.

"We arrested her on Tuesday for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings," police inspector Nandkumar Gopal said.

The photographer, Amit Ashar and dress designer Ashley Rebello were also arrested.

All three appeared before a local court which released them on bail.

Controversy

A case had been filed against Bendre three years ago by the then state government of Maharashtra, a coalition of the hardline Shiv Sena party and the Hindu nationalist BJP.

Malini Ramani
Malini Ramani's dress caused a flap
But the case got caught up in India's notoriously slow legal process and when it finally appeared before court, the government had changed.

Sonali Bendre is one of Bollywood's major stars with popular hits such as Sarfarosh (Patriot), Major Saab and Jish Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai (The Land Where the Ganges Lives).

Last August, a knee-length dress made out of the Indian national flag raised a storm and led to police action against the designer.

Malini Ramani, who used horizontal strips of orange, white and green and a blue wheel resembling the Indian tricolour, was accused of dishonouring the national flag.

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See also:

04 Sep 00 | South Asia
Storm over nude art in India
24 Aug 00 | South Asia
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11 Apr 00 | South Asia
Gandhi film arouses passions
30 Jan 00 | South Asia
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