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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Bollywood star quits Hindu role
By Monica Chadha
BBC correspondent in Bombay

One of Bollywood's leading Muslim stars has shelved plans to play a Hindu god after receiving a series of threats, reportedly from a religious group.

Controversial superstar Salman Khan - currently facing trial over a hit-and-run death - had been due to play the Hindu god Ram in the film Ramayan.

Salman Khan
Salman Khan is no stranger to controversy
But since the project made the headlines, the actor - and producers GS Entertainment - say they have received threatening telephone calls.

Bunty Walia of GS Entertainment told the BBC they had been warned not to make the film and not to cast Khan in the role of Ram.

He said they had decided to treat the calls seriously and stop all work on the project for the time being.

They were not, however, considering replacing Khan because it was his story idea and he also suited the character, Mr Walia said.

Epic

The Asian Age newspaper quoted Mr Walia as saying the calls were from a "religious organisation", threatening him with "dire consequences" if the film was not dropped.

Salman Khan is no stranger to controversy. He was recently in the news when his latest film, 'Tere Naam' (Your Name), hit Indian theatres last week.

Local media alleged that the movie, being called "a tragic love story", is based on Khan's relationship with a leading Bollywood actress.

The actor faces charges of culpable homicide in connection with a car accident in Bombay in September last year, in which one person was killed and three others injured.

The film revolves around the story of prince Ram and his wife, Sita, who are exiled for 14 years by Ram's step-mother in order to make way for her son to be crowned as the King of Ayodhya, a princely province in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Producers said the movie budget was about $21.6m - which would make it one of the most expensive Bollywood movies ever made.




SEE ALSO:
Bollywood star trial postponed
02 Jul 03  |  South Asia
Crash haunts Bollywood star
28 Oct 02  |  South Asia


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