'Slumdog' subtitles prompt lawsuit in Italy

Distributor accused of damaging image of Muslims

ROME -- An Italy-based Islamic advocacy group filed suit Monday seeking 100,000 euros ($127,000) from the Italian distributor of "Slumdog Millionaire," claiming that inaccurately translated subtitles during a brief part of the film damaged the image of Muslims.

A month ago, Ahmad Gianpiero Vincenzo, president of the group Italian Muslims, complained to distributor Lucky Red that a clash early in the film between Hindus and Muslims was poorly translated, inaccurately portraying Muslims as the aggressors.

The distributor promised to fix the problem and, on the weekend that the film took home eight Oscars, more than 150 new prints of the film were in circulation around Italy. Lucky Red president Andrea Occhipinti said in an interview that all of them were without the original problem.

But Vincenzo was not convinced. On Monday, he filed suit in a Rome court arguing that some inaccurate copies were still in circulation, seeking six figures' worth of damages, alleging, according to Milan newspaper Il Giornale, that Lucky Red was guilty of "activities harmful to racial integration." The court is expected to consider the suit starting Wednesday.

Officials from Vincenzo's group did not return phone calls seeking more information. For his part, Lucky Red's Occhipinti brushed aside the issue.

"At worst, one could say that the original subtitles were unclear, but certainly not malicious," he said. "Nobody was hurt by the problem, and, more importantly, the problem has been fixed at our expense, and anyone who sees it now will see the correct version."
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