Jag Mundhra’s 7/7 film cynical: victims’ parents

August 28th, 2008 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 28 (IANS) The parents of a young woman who was killed in the 7/7 suicide bombings in London have described an Indian-made film on the subject as “cynical.””Shoot on Sight”, directed by Indian-born Jag Mundhra, is controversial for its story line, which is based on the shooting of an innocent Brazilian man by police in London following the July 7, 2005 suicide bombings that killed 52 people.

Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by armed anti-terror police in a London underground train station, but Mundhra’s film makes the victim an innocent Muslim.

Although critics have praised the film as even-handed, they have also criticized it for being clichéd and simplistic in its treatment of a serious subject - a common criticism against Bollywood movies.

The parents of a 24-year-old victim of the 7/7 blasts, invited by the Sun newspaper to share their thoughts about the film, said they thought the filmmakers had been “cynical”.

“I had a lot of preconceived ideas about this film, of the kind of views that it was going to push. But I have to say it did examine the issues from both sides,” said John Taylor, whose daughter Carrie died in the bomb blast in Aldgate underground train station in East London.

“However, that said, I strongly feel that ‘Shoot On Sight’ cynically exploits the tragic shooting of De Menezes and the events leading up to it,” he added.

“I think that showing this in cinemas can only add to the distress and grief felt by the De Menezes family and the survivors of 7/7 and those who lost loved ones on that day.

“The hurt and pain doesn’t go away overnight. But ultimately it wasn’t the predictable plot or poor acting that caused offence to me but the cynical attempt to make money from a tragic event,” Taylor said.

John’s wife June said the film was more even-handed than she had expected.

“For example, the police officer who shoots the Muslim man isn’t portrayed as a cut and dried racist. I thought it was quite a clever twist that the police commissioner who is put in charge with investigating the shooting is a Muslim himself.

“I thought it was pretty tacky that they clearly used the De Menezes shooting as the basis for the plot. I wouldn’t be happy if I was a member of his family,” she said.

“I don’t understand why they made the character who was so clearly based on De Menezes Muslim, rather than Brazilian. It was clearly just to provoke controversy. I don’t think I would ever go and see this film at the cinema but it isn’t as anti-English as I was expecting,” June added.

Producer Aron Govill said: “We are not taking sides, just making a dramatic thriller and trying to explore racial bias.”

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