Terrorism, prejudice in India filmmaker's "New York"

Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:17am EDT
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - Indian filmmaker Kabir Khan can't seem to get the September 11, 2001 attacks out of his head: his first film, 2006's "Kabul Express" was set in Afghanistan just as the militant Taliban were fleeing the U.S.-led invasion.

Three years later, the documentary-turned-feature filmmaker is back with "New York," made on a budget $4.6 million and which tells the story of three friends who live in the city before, during and after the 9/11 attacks.

The film, starring John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, and Irrfan Khan, will be released worldwide on Friday.

Khan, who was in New York when the attacks happened, spoke to Reuters recently about making movies in New York and how Bollywood needs a dose of reality:

Q: Bollywood isn't really known for its hard-hitting themes. Yet, you have made two films on international terrorism. Why?

A: "I think for too long, our films have been set in la-la land. There is no social context, no political context. Terrorism has become the in-your-face, dominant issue across the world, and the danger is that it also lends itself to a lot of abuse and misuse because it is inherently larger than life. It allows itself to be treated in a romanticized manner. It is a subject that needs to be explored."

Q: Terrorism as a theme may have made it into Indian cinema, but not many have explored international terrorism have they?

A: "My previous film "Kabul Express" was about the rise of the Taliban and "New York" also deals with international terrorism. We are all living in a time when we all look at each other with mistrust. We all have stereotypes about each other. "New York," in a way, touches on that. Once you start dealing with prejudices, then there is no logic. It becomes very ugly."   Continued...