Bollywood role for Kashmir leader

6 June 2008
BBC


London: A prominent politician in Indian-administered Kashmir has a part in an forthcoming Bollywood film. Omar Abdullah, chief of the National Conference Party and former federal junior foreign minister, plays himself in a film called Mission Istanbul. He told the BBC that he is interviewed in the film about the role of the media in covering Kashmir. Mr Abdullah, leader of Kashmir's main opposition party, survived an attempt on his life by militants last year. 'Look like Hollywood' Mr Abdullah said the film, directed by Apurva Lakhia, was about terrorism and its global spread. It stars actors such as Viveik Oberoi and Zayed Khan. When asked by a girl who plays a reporter in the film for his views on the media's role in reporting Kashmir, he tells her: 'In Kashmir good news is not news. Unless a bomb goes off, unless somebody is killed, it is not news. 'So many good things are happening [in Kashmir]. For instance, tourists are coming. But all this is not reported the way terrorism and violence are being reported.' The 38-year-old UK-born politician said he read his lines from the script, and felt 'strange about it'. 'I am used to saying what I feel, what I think. But here I had to repeatedly read from a script. [They shot me] from different angles,' he said. The usually media-savvy Mr Abdullah said he even had to do a couple of retakes while shooting the scene. He said the director was a school mate and he could 'not say no to him' when he came with the proposal. Mr Abdullah said he was hopeful that the film would be a hit. 'It sees terrorism in an international context. Foreign locations have also been used. It looks like a Hollywood film.'