Bin Laden satire takes off in Bollywood

Small budget indie gets early praise from stars

MUMBAI -- Osama bin Laden is coming soon to a theatre near you.

The al Qaeda leader looms large over the upcoming Bollywood film “Tere Bin Laden," the story of an aspiring young journalist who finds a route to fame when he comes across a lookalike of Laden.

“The film looks to give a fresh perspective to the repercussions of 9/11 that a lot of people are facing but I want to do it through humour,” director Abhishek Sharma said.

The small-budget film follows a journalist, played by Pakistani pop artist Ali Zafar as he tries to migrate to the U.S., hoping to make it big.

“He is repeatedly denied a visa but when he comes across a lookalike of Laden, he hits upon the idea of making a Laden video,” Sharma said. “That video makes him famous and ironically he has to use the U.S.’s biggest enemy to create a favorable impression of himself.”

This is not the first Bollywood film to focus on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and its aftermath. In a little more than a year, three big-budget films, including Shah Rukh Khan’s “My Name is Khan” have dealt with the subject.

But Sharma says “Tere Bin Laden” doesn’t get too serious about the topic. He doesn’t expect any controversy and says there’s no reason for anyone to feel offended.

“It’s a satire, and a mad comedy. I don’t want to preach.”

“Tere Bin Laden”, which opens across India on July 16, doesn’t have a star-studded cast but several Bollywood celebrities are rooting for it.

Actor Salman Khan called it a “super film” on his Twitter account and producer-director Karan Johar has also been promoting the movie.