No surprise if ‘Phantom’ gets banned in Pakistan: Saif Ali Khan

Mumbai, Aug 11 (IANS) Actor-producer Saif Ali Khan on Tuesday said it won’t be surprising if his forthcoming film “Phantom”, which touches upon Mumbai’s 26/11 attacks, is banned in Pakistan.

His comment comes in reaction to 26/11 mastermind and Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s petition in a Lahore court, demanding a ban on the release of filmmaker Kabir Khan’s political thriller in Pakistan.

The “Phantom” team organised a press conference here on Tuesday to address the issue.

“As far as Pakistan is concerned, I always thought that this film will be banned in Pakistan as there are certain topics which Pakistan bans without watching the film or without any review,” Saif, whose 2012 film “Agent Vinod” was banned in the country too, said at a press conference here on Tuesday.

“We too have made films which have been passed in Pakistan. But those kinds of films are different. When there are films like this (Phantom), which have a realistic base, it’s no surprise for me if this film is banned in Pakistan,” the 44-year-old added.

“Phantom”, which is slated to release on August 28, is based on author Hussain Zaidi’s book “Mumbai Avengers” having the post 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and global terrorism in its background.

Kabir, whose 2012 film “Ek Tha Tiger”, also on terrorism, was banned in Pakistan, but whose “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” has been lauded across the border, said: “Whenever there is a political backdrop in a film, there are chances that the film won’t be screened there. That’s the kind of relationship that we (India and Pakistan) share, as whenever we venture into a political backdrop, problems are created.

“But the issue today is not that, since they haven’t even seen the film. The issue today is that we’re really amused that a wanted terrorist has gone and filed a petition that we’re spreading poison.”

Kabir’s other directorial, the Salman starrer “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, also faced issues over its release in Pakistan. However, it managed to receive a largely positive response.

“Bangistan” and “Baby” are some other films who were not allowed to be screened in Pakistan earlier this year.

“Phantom” writer Hussain Zaidi said: “This man (Saeed) is a wanted terrorist by US, UK, Australia and India. There are various issues going against Hafiz Saeed. He has not seen the movie, maybe he has seen the trailer, and still he wants to make issues representing Pakistan.”

Apart from Saif, “Phantom” also stars Katrina Kaif, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub.

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