Islamabad: Pakistan's Censor Board has banned Salman Khan's 'Ek Tha Tiger' for its depiction of Pakistani intelligence operatives, the second Bollywood film to suffer such a fate this year.
'Ek Tha Tiger' was scheduled for release around the time of Eid-ul-Fitr and was one of the most anticipated Indian films of the season. Muhammed Ashraf Gondal, vice-chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors, said the movie was 'problematic' for screening in Pakistan for its depiction of the country's security agencies.
"We have strict criteria due to which films that have themes that touch on anti-terrorism and are against Pakistan's national institutions or security agencies ultimately have to be censored because they are against the national interest," Gondal told The Express Tribune.
"'Ek Tha Tiger' has several themes referring to Pakistan's agencies, which were deemed problematic, thus leading to the ban of the film," he said. According to media reports, Katrina Kaif plays the role of a Pakistani spy posing as a scientist's part-time home caretaker in 'Ek Tha Tiger'. Salman Khan plays a RAW agent who falls in love with Kaif's character.
Pakistan's media regulator had earlier barred TV channels from airing the trailer, promos and reviews of 'Ek Tha Tiger'. It is the second Bollywood film to be banned this year for its depiction of Pakistani intelligence operatives, the first being Saif Ali Khan's 'Agent Vinod'.
Asim Quresh, CEO of Brand TV and Cinema, said the ban was bad for business. "'Ek Tha Tiger' would have smashed Bodyguard s box office record in Pakistan. In the history of Pakistani cinema, Eid has been the most celebrated slot, since the biggest releases are scheduled for this time," he said.