26/11 Mumbai attacks film under fire

Instead of giving peace a chance, this one has become yet another victim of ridiculous fatwas issued by the Taliban in Pakistan. US-based filmmaker Parthiban Shanmugan’s 10-minute short film on one of the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 has earned the ire of the banned outfit in Lahore.

Kia Scherr
Kia Scherr in the film

Titled A Letter to the Terrorist, the film features Kia Scherr who lost her husband and daughter to terrorism during her stay in the city. A human rights organisation in Pakistan was keen on taking the film forward to as many students as possible.

“They had made several arrangements through a film festival organisation in Lahore and Karachi. Unfortunately, the word-of-mouth worked against us as the news spread and the next thing we know there is an official ban from the Taliban,” says the Atlanta-based director. According to a New York-based source, the film was screened at Toronto Film Festival last year where the subject apparently moved the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan.

Parthiban Shanmugan
Parthiban Shanmugan

Incidentally, the director doesn’t seem keen to contest the verdict passed on his film by the terror unit. Says Shanmugan, “It’s an awkward as well as a dangerous situation. They (Taliban) haven’t even seen the film to object. Also, I don’t wish to jeopardise lives by insisting on going ahead with the plan.” When asked if his film will get an India release, the director says, “We’ve already applied for the Censor Board certificate. Once it’s obtained, it will be screened in India.”

About the film
Kia is the wife and mother of American tourists Allen and Naomi Scherr who were shot dead by terrorists on 26/11 respectively. In the film, she’s trying to contact Ajmal Kasab through a letter. However, she fails to deliver the note as none were allowed by the government to make any contact with him.  

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