Avengers’ slum scenes trigger anger in India

Actors in India have been voicing their disappointment at the portrayal of Kolkata in the film

Hulk in The Avengers played by Mark Ruffalo

Bad taste … scenes set in India of Bruce Banner – AKA Hulk – in The Avengers have been criticised. Photograph: Planet Photos/Marvel

The Avengers might be carrying all before it at the global box office, but inIndia, its healthy reported opening of INR110m (£1.3m) has been marred byhigh profile complaints over its portrayal of urban living conditions.

  1. The Avengers [also known as Avengers Assemble]
  2. Production year: 2012
  3. Country: USA
  4. Cert (UK): 12A
  5. Runtime: 142 mins
  6. Directors: Joss Whedon
  7. Cast: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Cobie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Stellan Skarsgard, Tom Hiddleston
  8. More on this film

Exception has been taken in regard to two brief scenes showing Bruce Banner – AKA Hulk – (played by Mark Ruffalo) working as a doctor in Kolkata in an attempt to avoid the rage triggers that transform him.


Actor Rituparna Sengupta, best known for the Bengali-language films Alo and Dahan, told the Hindustan Times: “Kolkata has a rich culture and heritage, and a film-maker should respect that. There are two scenes about India and they only show slums. It could have been done in better taste.”


Neha Dupia, an actor in Bollywood films such as Singh Is Kinng and Dasvidaniya, said: “It is disturbing to see the murky underbelly of India in Hollywood films … we need to make efforts to change [the west’s] perception about us.”


However, the film-makers cannot be accused of “slumdog tourism” a laSlumdog Millionaire: according to the Hollywood Reporter, the Kolkata slums were filmed in New Mexico.


Meanwhile, Disney has reported that The Avengers’ box office figures for its US opening were even higher than estimated. On Sunday, the studio entered a figure of $200.3m (£124m) for its first three days on release. But better than expected figures for the Sunday’s takings mean the figure is now $207.4m.

Even with the lower estimate, The Avengers – renamed Avengers Assemble for the UK and Irish market – had comfortably eclipsed the previous opening weekend best, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s $169.2m. The Avengers has also become the first film to break the $200m mark for its opening figures.

India may relax ‘death penalty’ clause under Narcotics Act

No death penalty

No death penalty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PTI | May 8, 2012, 07.17PM IST

NEW DELHI: The government proposes to drop the mandatory death penalty provision for drug offences through an amendment of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

“In view of the observations of the Standing Committee on Finance made in its report on the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011, it is proposed to amend Section 31A of the NDPS Act and replace the words ‘shall be punishable with death’ with the words ‘may be punishable with death’,” Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The NDPS Act, 1985 has provision for a graded system of punishment, with the quantum of punishment varying with the quantity of drug or substance involved in a case, he said.

The Bombay high court had in June last year held that the Section relating to mandatory death penalty was violative of Article 21 of the Constitution (right to life).

However, the court’s verdict was given for the accused convicted twice for the offense.

The court had observed that second conviction in NDPS case need not be death penalty and it was the sole discretion of the judge of the special court to decide about the capital punishment.

The Rajya Sabha was told there was a surge in the number of people prosecuted under the NDPS Act in the last three years and decline in the cases of conviction.

As many as 20,364 people were prosecuted in 2011 for their involvement in offenses under the Act as against 19,720 in 2010 and 19,377 in 2009, Mukherjee said.

Whereas, 7,857 and 9,819 people were convicted in 2011 and 2010 respectively. In 2009, a total of 11,418 were convicted for the offenses, he added.

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