Film explores tensions after 2005 London bombings

Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:20am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - A film inspired by the 2005 London suicide bombings that killed 52 people explores the mistrust they stoked between communities and how Islamist radicals threatened to drown out the voice of moderate Muslims.

"Shoot on Sight," starring Greta Scacchi, is set in the capital just after the July 7 bombings and follows the story of a Muslim police officer thrust into the limelight when a Muslim man is mistaken for a bomber and shot dead.

Tariq Ali, played by Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah, finds himself caught between police officers who are prejudiced against him because of his race and religion and a Muslim community that shuns him for betraying them.

"They don't trust him in the department because he is a Muslim and they don't trust him at the mosque because he is a police officer," director Jagmohan Mundhra told Reuters ahead of the film's release in Britain on August 22.

"I have always admired British society for being the most tolerant. It's not just lip service, they have actually done it.

"Then the actions of a few suddenly start causing this chasm. It becomes us versus them, and I think all these years of blending, suddenly, in one night, comes to naught."

Mundhra, an Indian Hindu, was in London at the time of the attacks on the underground train system and a bus, and noticed how people's attitude to him changed because he was assumed by many to be a Muslim from South Asia.

Later the same month, a Brazilian man mistakenly believed to be a suicide bomber was shot dead by police. Mundhra used the incident as a trigger for his thriller, but made the victim a Muslim man instead.   Continued...

<p>The bomb destroyed number 30 double-decker bus is seen in Tavistock Square in central London July 8, 2005. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>