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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 20:12 GMT
Bollywood stars claim race abuse
By Dil Neiyyar
BBC Asian Network

Arshad Warsi
Arshad Warsi says the incident shocked him

Two of Bollywood's biggest stars say they were racially abused while filming in west London.

A group of white men in a car are said to have hurled insults at Bipasha Basu and Arshad Warsi as they shot the film Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal in Southall.

Arshad Warsi told the BBC Asian Network of the incident in May: "I was shocked. I'm not used to this sort of thing."

The area saw racial violence in the 1960s and 1970s but community leaders say such incidents are now rare.

Mr Warsi said the experience shook him and his fellow actors.

"A car stopped with a couple of white guys. They just lashed out at us and totally gave us their point of view.

"It's the first time I've experienced this."

The actors had been recording a scene close to Glassy Junction, the area's famous Indian themed pub.

"For me it was an alien thing. It was like, do people actually think like that?" Mr Warsi added.

'Absolutely disgusting'

Fellow Bollywood star Jonathan Abraham was also on the set of the film, which was released in the UK on Friday.

"When you come into London and you're shooting, its the last thing you expect," he said.

Locals were angry that two of the Indian film industry's stars were abused by racists.

"It's disgusting, absolutely disgusting," said 19-year-old student, Preety Johal.

Racial violence was common in Southall in the 1960s and 1970s.

The area has also witnessed race riots.

In 1979 there were street battles when the anti-immigrant National Front held a meeting in the town hall.

Bipasha Basu
Bipasha Basu is one of the stars of Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal

This resulted in the death of anti-racist campaigner Blair Peach.

Two years later there were further troubles after a far right skinhead band played a controversial concert in the town.

It is a different picture today.

The town's Indian and Pakistani communities for the most part live happily alongside Somalis and the newest immigrants from eastern Europe.

Campaigners such as Janpal Basran from Southall Community Alliance say racism is rare.

He said: "We're now known as a very mixed, vibrant town. It's usually very tolerant, very welcoming town."

It is not the first time that a Bollywood star has been verbally roughed up in Britain.

Shilpa Shetty made international headlines when fellow contestant Jade Goody was verbally abusive to her on the Big Brother show on Channel 4.

SEE ALSO
Indian artists fear intolerance
16 May 07 |  South Asia
Shetty wins Celebrity Big Brother
29 Jan 07 |  Entertainment

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