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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 07:33 GMT
Military 'clears' Bollywood film
By Upasana Bhat
BBC News, Delhi

Bollywood actor Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan is one of India's most bankable leads
The Indian air force says it has no objections against a Bollywood film following a special screening attended by senior defence officials.

Earlier reports said they were unhappy that some scenes of the film showed politicians and the armed forces in poor light.

The film Rang De Basanti (Paint it Yellow) is due for release this month and features popular star Aamir Khan.

India's censor board head also said there was "nothing objectionable".

Sharmila Tagore's remarks came after she left a special viewing of the film attended by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and armed forces chiefs.

Senior officer Air Marshal PS Ahluwalia told journalists after the screening: "We have no objection to any part of the film. We have left it as it is."

British actress Alice Patten, daughter of the last British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, also plays a leading role in the film.

'Routine' screening

Reports in the Indian media had suggested the air force objected to a computer-generated scene in the movie showing the crash of a MiG-21 fighter aircraft.

It is a very good film. It pays tribute to the heroes of our country
Sharmila Tagore
Censor board chief
It is highly unusual in India for government or military officials to view films before they are released. That is the job of the Central Board of Film Certification, which Ms Tagore heads.

Before the screening, the air force refused to comment on the film or reports that it was upset.

But a spokesman said it was "open-minded" and believed in freedom of speech and expression. The defence ministry emphasised that Tuesday's was "a regular screening".

Leaving the viewing, Ms Tagore, herself an actor, said: "There is nothing objectionable within the film.

"It is a very good film. It pays tribute to the heroes of our country."

Rang de Basanti - directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra - tells the story of a young English film-maker who goes to India to make a documentary on the people who fought for India's independence.

Khan's last film, Mangal Pandey - The Rising
Khan's last film, The Rising, also had its critics
The documentary director, played by Patten, recruits five college students to play the roles of the freedom fighters, even though they do not identify with the characters.

Khan plays the role of one of the college students.

Khan's last film, Mangal Pandey (The Rising) also starred a British actor, Toby Stephens.

It ran into controversy over alleged inaccuracies in the film which recounted the Indian mutiny of 1857.

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