Pak Censor Board bans Ek Tha Tiger

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Censor Board has banned Salman Khan`s `Ek Tha Tiger` for its depiction of Pakistani intelligence operatives, the second Bollywood film to suffer such a fate this year.

`Ek Tha Tiger` was scheduled for release around the time of Eid-ul-Fitr and was one of the most anticipated Indian films of the season.

Muhammed Ashraf Gondal, vice-chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors, said the movie was "problematic" for screening in Pakistan for its depiction of the country`s security agencies.

"We have strict criteria due to which films that have themes that touch on anti-terrorism and are against Pakistan`s national institutions or security agencies ultimately have to be censored because they are against the national interest," Gondal told The Express Tribune.

"`Ek Tha Tiger` has several themes referring to Pakistan`s agencies, which were deemed problematic, thus leading to the ban of the film," he said.

According to media reports, Katrina Kaif plays the role of a Pakistani spy posing as a scientist`s part-time home caretaker in `Ek Tha Tiger`. Salman Khan plays a RAW agent who falls in love with Kaif`s character.

Pakistan`s media regulator had earlier barred TV channels from airing the trailer, promos and reviews of `Ek Tha Tiger`.

It is the second Bollywood film to be banned this year for its depiction of Pakistani intelligence operatives, the first being Saif Ali Khan`s `Agent Vinod`.

Asim Quresh, CEO of Brand TV and Cinema, said the ban was bad for business. "`Ek Tha Tiger` would have smashed Bodyguard`s box office record in Pakistan. In the history of Pakistani cinema, Eid has been the most celebrated slot, since the biggest releases are scheduled for this time," he said.