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Pakistan bans Indian Hindu-Muslim romance film

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Indian Bollywood actors Sonam Kapoor (right) and Dhanush (centre) with producer Krishika Lulla (right) attend a promotional event for the Hindi film "Raanjhanaa" in Mumbai on June 20, 2013. Pakistan has banned an Indian film about the love affair of a Muslim-Hindu couple on the grounds that it could offend viewers in the conservative Islamic republic, officials said Friday. (AFP/File)

Pakistan has banned an Indian film about the love affair of a Muslim-Hindu couple on the grounds that it could offend viewers in the conservative Islamic republic, officials said Friday.

"Raanjhanaa" was scheduled for release in June, but Pakistan's Film Censor Board refused to clear it for cinema showings.

"The censor board did not clear this movie because of its controversial story," Arshad Ali, a senior government official and chairman of the board, told AFP.

"The board recommended that the movie's storyline could offend the majority Muslim population in the country and a law and order situation could arise in response," he said.

According to press reports the film is the love story of a Hindu man and a Muslim woman.

While a huge array of Western and Bollywood films can be bought over the counter on pirated DVD in Pakistan, the censor board routinely bans productions deemed too sensitive for cinemas.

Pakistani movie distributors boycotted Hollywood film "Zero Dark Thirty" about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US troops in Pakistan on May 2, 2011 to the country's humiliating.

In 2012, Pakistan banned Agent Vinod, India's answer to James Bond in which an Indian secret agent thwarts Pakistani spies from detonating a nuclear bomb in Delhi.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from British rule in 1947.

In 2010, censors also refused permission for Indian film "Tere bin Laden", which poked fun at bin Laden. The board claimed it would incite suicide attacks.

Pakistan's own film industry declined in recent years, finding itself unable to compete with the huge popularity of Bollywood productions.