'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' director plays down Karachi protest (Second Lead)

Karachi, April 27: "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" director Kabir Khan faced protests here on Wednesday from a small group shouting anti-India slogans, but he urged the Indian and Pakistani media to ignore the incident.

As he reached the Karachi airport to fly to Lahore, about a dozen men mobbed the Bollywood director, asking him why he did not make movies on what the Indian intelligence agency RAW did in Pakistan.

At least one man waved a shoe at Kabir Khan who did not respond to the ruckus at the departure lounge, Dawn reported. Once he entered the airport building, security personnel prevented the others from following him.

"You people send Jhadav and kill hundreds here. Why don't you make a movie about it?" one protestor asked the "Phantom" director, referring to alleged RAW official Kulbhushan Jhadav who has been arrested in Pakistan.

Starring Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif, "Phantom" is about a retired Indian Army officer who leads a mission to kill Pakistani terrorist leader Hafiz Saeed after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

Another shoe-wielding man warned the director about "Indian conspiracies against the Pakistan Army", Dawn said.

Kabir Khan's "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" received a warm response in Pakistan, where Indian movies are always in great demand. But "Phantom", based on a novel by S. Hussain Zaidi, was banned by the Lahore High Court.

Shortly after the protest, Kabir Khan urged the media in India and Pakistan to ignore the Karachi airport incident.

He said the footage of some "screaming lunatics" should not be considered news.

He tweeted: "To media on both sides: 12 screaming lunatics with a mobile phone camera is not news. Please don't give them the attention they want. Ignore."

Speaking earlier on Tuesday at the conference organised by the Marketing Association of Pakistan, Kabir Khan said he desired to see more cinema halls in Pakistan.

"It can be our biggest territory," he said.

The director added that there was excitement in India about Pakistani actors, citing the examples of Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan.

Kabir Khan said he wanted to explore the definition of "enemy" in his films.

In an obvious reference to Pakistan, he said he did not see "Phantom" as a criticism "of a country".

He added that "there were elements in every country which were bad". (Bollywood Country Report)