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Bollywood film set in Australia to focus on attacks

By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - An Indian film-maker plans to make a movie that will put the spotlight on a recent spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia that has caused diplomatic discomfort between the two countries.

Mohit Suri said he was inspired to write the script after an Indian friend based in Australia complained of discrimination.

The film, to be shot in Australia at the end of the year, is about an Indian student who thinks he was a victim of racial bias.

"So many Indian students go abroad to study thinking they will have a better life there because there are so many problems in India," the 28-year-old director told Reuters.

"But they go there and find that things are the same."

The recent attacks on students in Sydney and Melbourne have been described by the Indian media as race-based and have sparked angry protests in India.

Australia's government, which has launched an inquiry, condemned the attacks and said racism was not behind them.

Police said the violent assaults were purely criminal.

Around 93,000 of the 430,000 foreign students in Australia are Indians, up from around 30,000 only a few years ago.

A leading Bollywood union said it would not shoot any films in Australia until the government took action against people behind the violent assaults.

Australia is a hot destination for Indian film-makers with about a dozen films shot there every year.

Two of last year's biggest Bollywood hits, "Bachna Ae Haseeno" and "Singh is Kinng," were partly shot in Australia.

But Suri said he intends to shoot the film in Australia.

"I don't think banning the country is going to achieve anything," he said.

"How can I not shoot in Australia when that is where my story is based?"

(Writing by Tony Tharakan; Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Sugita Katyal)

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