|Directed by||Jan Mohammad|
|Produced by||Sajjad Gul|
Nasir Adib (screenplay)Zahoor Ahmed (dialogue)
|Music by||M. Ashraf|
|April 27, 1990|
International Guerrillas (Original title: International Gorillay) is a 1990 action film from Pakistan, originally released in the context of the Satanic Verses controversy, which portrays Salman Rushdie as its main villain. The film was made in the Urdu language; it also features several musical numbers including songs and dances.
The film's protagonists are three Pakistani brothers, the older one being a police officer and the younger two, small-time hoodlums. The three brothers ultimately reconcile in the light of the controversy over The Satanic Verses: in a dramatized version of the Islamabad police firing on a mob on February 12, 1990 when five demonstrators were killed and 83 injured, their younger sister is killed by the police while demonstrating against Rushdie. The three brothers decide to avenge her and Islam’s honor by hunting down and killing Rushdie. They receive the help of a female police officer in the course of their mission.
Salman Rushdie, played by Afzaal Ahmad, is portrayed in the film as a sadistic criminal mastermind, working for an international organization devoted to destroying Islam (as the Muslim faith is an obstacle to his wishes of building casinos, nightclubs and brothels around the world). He is depicted as hiding in the Philippines, guarded by a private army led by an Israeli general. Saeed Khan Rangeela stars as "Chief Batu Batu", Rushdie's main Jewish henchman. Rushdie lives a life of hedonism and other excesses and routinely amuses himself by torturing and killing the mujaheddins who regularly try to hunt him down. He also enjoys torturing Muslims by making them listen to readings of The Satanic Verses.
The protagonists arrive in the Philippines and start their hunt for Rushdie, who escapes them repeatedly thanks to the use of multiple decoys. In the course of one of their attempts to kill Rushdie, the three brothers appear wearing Batman disguises. The Israeli general's sister is sent to seduce one of the Muslim guerrillas but ends up falling in love with him and ultimately converting to Islam in the final scene.
The film ends with a gunfight opposing the four "International Guerrillas" and Rushdie's army of Israeli henchmen. The heroes defeat the villains and, as Rushdie attempts to flee the scene, three giant Qur'ans appear in the sky and fire lightning bolts at the writer, incinerating him.
- Ghulam Mohiuddin
- Mustafa Qureshi
- Saeed Khan Rangeela
- Babra Sharif
- Hamayun Qureshi
- Afzaal Ahmad as Salman Rushdie.
Temporary ban in the UK and response by Rushdie
The film was denied a certificate by the British Board of Film Classification, effectively denying it a cinema release in the UK. The board cited the safety of Salman Rushdie as an argument for refusing the certificate, arguing that it could inflame some to violence.
Although the film portrayed Salman Rushdie very negatively, he opposed the ruling of the BBFC, arguing that:
As a writer, I am opposed in principle to the use of the archaic criminal laws of blasphemy, sedition and criminal libel against creative works, even in the case of a film which quite plainly vilifies me.
The ban was overturned. Rushdie later said, "If that film had been banned, it would have become the hottest video in town: everyone would have seen it". While the film was a great hit in Pakistan, it enjoyed only a limited release in the West, where it went virtually unnoticed.
- With Rushdie's Approval, Britain Lifts Its Ban on Anti-Rushdie Film, Suzanne Cassidy, The New York Times.
- Review at Nanarland.com (in French)
- International Guerillas, review, Film Threat, 13 June 2005
- La Vengeance d'Islamabad, Le Nouvel observateur, 26 June 1990 (magazine article in French)
- "International Guerrillas and Criminal Libel". Screenonline. Retrieved 2008-02-07.