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Movie protests fail to dampen praise

Shah Rukh Khan's film is winning plaudits almost everywhere

The film My Name Is Khan, starring Shah Rukh Khan, has been attracting favourable reviews across the world, but in India it has led to over 1,600 people being detained during mounting protests over a row about cricket.

Thousands of Shiv Sainiks – supporters of a right-wing Hindu nationalist party who most often speak the central Indian language of Marathi – took to the streets after Shah Rukh was quoted as saying that Pakistani cricketers should be included in the Indian Premier League.

The authorities are ensuring that cinemas have set up heavy security so that screenings go ahead.

My Name is Khan is about a Muslim who is mistakenly identified as a terrorist and then sets off to find President Obama and persuade him that he is not a terrorist.

The Guardian’s film blog notes that the protesters do not represent the majority of India, and that “the message of My Name Is Khan is that extremism must be challenged.”

And last week the BBC predicted that the film was on course to break box office records.

Which shows that the vast majority of cinema goers are primarily interested in the movie’s themes about challenging stereotypes and Islamophobia.

LH

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