Languages
Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Monday, 23 May 2005 17:56 UK

Why Sikh row dogs Bollywood film

Poster for Jo Bole So Nihaal
Sikh leaders have demanded cuts to the film

The Bollywood film which has so angered some Sikhs and been the focus of bomb attacks in Delhi was last week hastily withdrawn from cinemas in India's Sikh majority state of Punjab after protests.

A section of the Sikh community says the film's title and some of its content denigrates their faith.

The film is called Jo Bole So Nihal, which is part of a Sikh slogan (Jo Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal: He who takes God's name is blessed) spoken in prayer and on the battlefield.

Sunny Deol stars as a Sikh policeman in the film, which was shot in India and the US.

The film includes shots of scantily-clad women, as well as some of the Sikh scriptures, although not in the same scene.

'Distorted'

Last week, the leading Sikh body the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) demanded that the film's producers stop all screenings with immediate effect.

The film has also passed the censor board and they are people who understand cinema. They had no problems with the film
Film director Rahul Rawail

SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur insisted on certain key changes to the film, including a change of title.

She said the use of a religious slogan as the title could confuse audiences who may go to watch what they might believe is a religious film.

The producers have also been asked to remove portions in which, according to Ms Kaur, "verses from the Sikh scripture or Guru Granth Sahib have been presented in a distorted manner".

Ms Kaur also demanded that the new version of the film be vetted by an expert SGPC committee before it was shown again.

'Not hurtful'

Jo Bole So Nihal was withdrawn from cinema halls in Punjab a day after the SGPC issued its demand.

All television serials and films depicting Sikhs and their way of life must be approved by the SGPC before being screened
Bibi Jagir Kaur
President, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC)

One of the film's producers and main distributor for Punjab, Ponty Chadha, told the BBC's Asit Jolly that the film would still run in cinemas across other states in India and abroad.

According to the film's director, Rahul Rawail, Mr Chadha's decision to recall the film was "his personal choice".

"My film is not hurting religious sentiments of the Sikhs as I am myself a Sikh and can't imagine doing anything that would hurt my religious beliefs," he told the AFP news agency.

"The film has also passed the censor board and they are people who understand cinema. They had no problems with the film."

Ms Kaur said Sikhs should be included in India's Censor Board.

"All television serials and films depicting Sikhs and their way of life must be approved by the SGPC before being screened."

Pahlaj Nihalani, president of India's Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers, said: "We have sought a meeting with the prime minister for his intervention in the controversy."

video and audio news
See the scene of the bomb blasts



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Delhi cinema blasts
23 May 05 |  In Pictures
One killed in India cinema blasts
22 May 05 |  South Asia
Theatre stormed in Sikh protest
19 Dec 04 |  West Midlands
Theatre ends play in Sikh protest
20 Dec 04 |  West Midlands

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific