A passing claim in the Bollywood film Chandni Chowk to China that the Buddha was born in India has stoked anger in neighbouring Nepal, with calls for a boycott of Indian films.
Protestors, who pointed out that the Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini is in modern-day Nepal, threatened to burn Nepali cinema halls that screen the film.
The Bollywood-Kung Fu film, which stars Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone, revolves around the identification of a wastrel in Chandni Chowk as the reincarnation of a Chinese war hero, and the comedy of errors that ensues. The Buddha issue is peripheral to the plot.
Protestors have even formed a Facebook group in support of their protest.
“Everyone knows Buddha was born in Lumbini,” noted Sanit Maharjan. “Maybe these dhotis (Indians) think they can extend their borders beyond Lumbini and make it part of dhoti land,” he fumed.
Sabin Kumar Chhetri, another protestor, said: “Mount Everest and Lord Buddha are only the remaining things that define Nepali identity to the rest of the world. If someone tries to dominate us, it’s human nature that we should respond.”
Those spearheading the protest have launched a campaign to send protest mails to Warner Brothers, which produced the film. Others have called for commercial boycott of all Indian films.