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Protests against 'Mohabbatein' in Varanasi

By Our Special Correspondent

LUCKNOW, NOV. 25. Varanasi seems to be preparing for yet another cultural showdown, this time over the film Mohabbatein, produced by the seasoned film-maker Yash Chopra.

According to reports received here, some Vedic scholars in Varanasi had taken exception to a scene in the film in which Amitabh Bachchan recites ``Gayatri Mantra'' with his shoes on. The scholars protested this as an insult to Hindu religion.

Scholars associated with the Ved Parayana Kendram, Varanasi, have constituted a 21-member committee to examine the issue. Letters have been sent to the Chopras and the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms. Sushma Swaraj, demanding deletion of the ``objectionable'' scene. And if action was not taken, an agitation would be launched, they said.

According to Dr. Kaushal Kishore Mishra, who led the ``crusade'' against Water and who is associated with the present protest too, the committee formed by the scholars would have a permanent status. It would not only review Mohabbatein but also every film attacking the sensibility of Hindus.

Amitabh denial

PTI reports from Mumbai:

Amitabh Bachchan today denied the accusations, saying, ``I am a deeply religious person and cannot even dream of any kind of disrespect to religious sentiments.''

In a statement, he said, ``I give this statement in all humility and respect to clarify any wrong impressions that may have entered the minds of the concerned authorities.''

In another statement, Yash Chopra said the observations made by the spiritual organisations were ``absolutely incorrect, unjust, erroneous and uncalled for''.

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