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'Tango Charlie' banned in Assam

IANS [Saturday, April 09, 2005]

The Assam government has banned the new Bollywood movie "Tango Charlie" on the ground that it defames the tribal Bodo community.
 Members of the community say director Mani Shankar, who also scripted the film, erred in many ways in his depiction of the Bodos in "Tango Charlie" and that the film is poorly researched and distorts facts.
 According to them, the film -- starring Bobby Deol, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan, Suniel Shetty, Kelly Dorjee and Tanishaa -- has several glaring errors.
 Deol plays a Border Security Force (BSF) trooper engaged in flushing out Bodo militants from the jungles of Manipur, a northeastern state neighboring Assam that is not even home to members of the community.
 "The fact that the film shows Bodo militants in Manipur reflects how poorly it was researched," said Pramilla Rani Brahma, a Bodo woman legislator.
 Bodo rebels have been waging a long-running campaign to establish a separate state within the Indian union for the community but they have never set up any bases in Manipur as shown in "Tango Charlie".
 But Bodo leaders are more troubled by the film's depiction of the tribals as rather barbaric - it shows a Bodo militant cutting off the ears of a hostage and presenting them to his girlfriend.
 "It makes Bodo militants look like some sort of barbarians. The film is not only slanderous but shows the entire community in very bad taste, as if we are all blood thirsty monsters," Rabiram Narzary, a senior leader of the All Bodo Students' Union, told IANS.
 Following a barrage of protests, the Assam government decided late Friday to ban the screening of the film in the state.
 "We cannot allow anything that depicts our own people in poor taste. The film is nothing but slanderous," Minister Bharat Narah told the state assembly Friday.
 "Bollywood filmmakers need to be more sensitive while depicting tribal communities," he said.
 "Tango Charlie" is yet to be released in cinemas across the northeast but pirated video CDs of it are available here.

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