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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 11:13 GMT
Film-kiss star demands protection
Meera said she had not "contravened the norms of society"
A Pakistani actress has asked her government for protection after she says she received death threats for a kissing scene in a Bollywood film.

Meera, a leading light in Pakistani cinema, has been shooting the film, Nazar, in Mumbai (Bombay) in India.

Last week, a Lahore-based tabloid printed pictures showing Meera in an intimate scene with an Indian actor.

Strict movie censorship laws in Pakistan do not allow the screening of such scenes.

Nazar is the latest film by veteran Bollywood director, Mahesh Bhatt, and is scheduled to be released later this year.

The Lahore tabloid that printed the photos said it had more pictures which it could not publish "in the interest of its readers' good taste".

Played down

The 27-year-old actress said: "I would like to convey to the government of Pakistan through the media that I want protection from extremists here who have threatened my life."

"I have not done anything in the movie which contravenes the norms of society I come from

She told the AFP news agency: "I want protection. I want protection for me, my family. I want President Pervez Musharraf to ensure the safety of my family."

Her father, Sarwar, tried to play down the issue, saying: "Some people came but we don't want to make an issue out of it."

Pakistan's Culture Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani added: "No action was ever contemplated at the ministry against Meera."

Pakistan is strict on its censorship in such matters. A number of stage artists were arrested last year for what officials described as "obscene dances and vulgar dialogue".

Nazar (Sight), a supernatural thriller, is not likely to be officially released in Pakistan in view of a blanket ban on Indian films since the 1965 India-Pakistan War.

Meera's role in the film will therefore not fall within the jurisdiction of Pakistan's Film Censor Board.

Some film critics described Meera's latest statement as "a gimmick to win publicity in Pakistan's increasingly competitive film market".

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