Zardari says no to Bollywood film on Benazir

Written by Agencies | Islamabad, March 4: | Updated: Mar 4 2008, 18:39pm hrs
Slain former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari has shot down a Bollywood proposal to make a film on the life of his wife.

The film was supposed to be co-produced by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and Karachi-based Skies Unlimited Films with veteran actress Shabana Azmi playing Bhutto.

Bhatt, who was waiting to get the nod from Bhutto's family, was reportedly banking on Naheed Khan, the late premier's close aide, getting his proposal cleared.

Khan's sister Aneela Khan is a producer with Skies Unlimited and was to assist Bhatt on the project.

Bhatt, who planned to base the film on the revised edition of Bhutto's book "Daughter of the East", wanted to sign a formal contract with Zardari for the movie rights of the book and was sure Naheed could get the clearance for him, The News reported today.

However, Zardari told Naheed that Bhutto had signed an agreement with famous Hollywood filmmaker Robert Redford during her lifetime. Naheed's husband Safdar Abbasi too could not convince Zardari.

The report said Zardari was advised by his lawyers to not allow an Indian filmmaker to make a movie on Bhutto's life as this would have "negative consequences" for the probe into her assassination.

The lawyers reportedly pointed out that no film could be made without "answering questions about who killed Bhutto".