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Heroine teaser triggers controversy in Dubai

Dubai residents see red over dialogue degrading Bollywood actresses who visit the city

By Mazhar Farooqui
, Deputy Editor
August 1, 2012
Image Credit: Supplied picture

DUBAI The teaser of upcoming Bollywood movie Heroine has struck a sour note with Dubai residents. A press conference scene from the trailer out last week shows Kareena Kapoor rebuking journalists saying: “You people should be writing scripts. If a heroine buys a car, it’s given to her by a businessman, if she goes to LA, she’s getting plastic surgery done and, God forbid, if she goes to Dubai, you people make her a rate card.”

Residents said the suggestion that Bollywood actresses visiting Dubai end up as call girls with price tags is sickening.

“This is terrible. Bollywood has once again tarnished the image of Dubai by typecasting it as the hub of illegal and immoral activities. Let’s not forget that Dubai is home to a number of Bollywood stars. Dubai stands for progress and development and has made a huge imprint on the world map. To use its name is such a callous manner shows the ignorance of the filmmaker and is just not acceptable,” said popular radio jockey Kritika Rawat.

Dubai-based TV personality Uma Ghosh Deshpande said she can’t understand why Indian filmmakers are still obsessed with typecasts. “This is 2012; gone are the days when Indians came to Dubai on a ferry to take odd jobs. Over the last two decades, the Indian community has worked up the ranks and earned a reputation across various sectors, making their motherland proud. It’s high time Indian films stop associating Dubai with the underworld and prostitution. Their lopsided perception has to change. Dubai is an important market for Bollywood which is why Indian films are routinely premiered here. Bollywood movies are loved by not just Indians but other communities including Emiratis too. Women are given utmost respect in Dubai. It’s an extremely safe place for them. I wish the filmmaker had done some research about the city,” she said.

Ironically, Heroine is directed and co-written by Madhur Bhandarkar who in 2010 was honoured in Dubai for his contribution to Indian cinema.

Indian techie and film buff Sameer Haider, 35, said when fading actress Mahi Arora (played by Kareena Kapoor) addresses journalists in the movie, she is not stating the views of the protagonist; instead she’s lashing out at them for cooking up bogus stories — hence the sarcasm in the dialogue.

Most residents, however, do not buy the argument saying the Dubai-reference was not required.

In 2005, Amitabh Bachchan starrer Sarkar ran into controversy because of a scene that showed an ‘Olympic gold medalist’ as a hit man. Residents were not amused because that year the UAE’s biggest sporting achievement came when Shaikh Ahmad Mohammad Hasher Al Maktoum clinched the country’s first Olympics gold medal in the double trap shooting event.

Much later Emraan Hashmi starrer Killer was banned because it portrayed Dubai police in a bad light. Heroine is due to release in Dubai on September 20.

Whether or not the controversial line will pass the censor scissors remains to be seen.

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