A “dangerous, misleading and wrong” Bollywood film is facing legal action from an international aid charity, amid claims it could endanger lives.
Phantom, which was released today, is the story of a aid worker who helps a disgraced Indian soldier to assassinate Pakistani extremists accused of orchestrating the 2008 bombings in Mumbai.
In an interview, the British-Indian actress who has the starring role, Katrina Kaif, said her character worked for Medicins Sans Frontieres – even though the charity was completely unaware of the Hindi film.
The movie’s trailer shows the aid worker firing pistols and rifles – and MSF has claimed this is “incredibly worrying” for its organisation, as none of its staff carry guns.
Although MSF is never mentioned by name in Phantom, “many aspects” of the fictitious agency in the film – called Medicine International – are “confusingly similar” to the humanitarian organisation, including the logo.
An MSF spokesperson added: “Such a blurring of the lines between fact and fiction can have real consequences for our ability to work in difficult places where our access depends on people trusting that we are a neutral, impartial and independent organisation.”
MSF insists it has a “strict no guns policy” in all clinics, and does not hire armed guards.
The humanitarian agency boasts a network of thousands of medical professionals in more than 70 countries – including doctors, surgeons, nurses and psychiatrists.
It has contacted the film’s production team while the legal action gets under way.
Before seeing the film, MSF had expressed concern that its ability to work safely in places such as Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen, where there is active fighting, could have been jeopardised by the film, which would “undermine its reputation”.
It also warned vulnerable people could be placed in danger, as they might not otherwise have access to healthcare.
Phantom has already been banned by a court in Pakistan.