India AIDS film draws fire from audience members
August 31 2004 12:00 AM ET
Some audience members are responding with anger and shock to a new movie from India's Bollywood film industry on the AIDS epidemic that features popular Indian actors Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty, The Washington Post reports. Phir Milenge, which opened Friday, was greeted with loud choruses of boos and jeers in many locales, and theater owners report many audience members left shortly after the film began, apparently unwilling to accept that actors Shetty and Khan would play characters suffering from AIDS. The film tells the story of a female advertising executive who is fired from her job after her employer discovers she is HIV-positive and who subsequently sues her former boss for discrimination. Film director Revathy Menon says the movie is intended to examine widespread HIV-related discrimination, stigma, and ignorance in the country that is now home to about 5 million HIV-positive people. "There is a stigma towards my film itself," Menon says. "The press is saying it's an AIDS film. If a main character in a film has cancer, you don't call it a cancer film. Truthfully speaking, I just thought this was a cause that needed to be talked about."