'Chandni Chowk to China' fumbles in Nepal, protests over Buddha remark

Kathmandu, Jan 21 (IANS) "Chandni Chowk to China", India's first made-in-China film, has angered Nepal for its erroneous references about the Buddha. Enraged students Wednesday tore off the posters of the romantic comedy at Kathmandu's best-known Jai Nepal cinema and the furore caused authorities to shelve the screening of the film.

The protests began over a comment in the film that the Buddha was born in India.

Born Prince Siddharth, the founder of Buddhism, the Buddha was born in Lumbini, in present day southern Nepal, which draws thousands of visitors every year.

Before its release on Friday, the film was vetted by Nepal's censor board which asked for the offending scene to be removed.

The Jai Nepal cinema was screening the movie with the cut ordered by the board but the word got around, triggering public anger.

The protesters are also asking the Maoist government of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' to take up the issue with the Indian government.

Protests are not restricted to students. K.P. Pathak, a member of the Nepal Film Development Board as well as chief of the Nepal Directors' Association, has urged Nepalis to boycott the film, the Dainikee.com website reported.

"This film projects wrong information," the website quoted Pathak as saying. "We are asking the audience to boycott all such films."

Directed by Nikhil Advani, "Chandni Chowk to China" is co-producer Warner Brothers' second Hindi film and casts Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone in lead roles.

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