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Terror attacks on Mumbai stun Bollywood

PANAJI (Reuters) - Bollywood reacted with shock and horror on Thursday as brazen attacks on luxury hotels, hospitals and a tourist cafe in Mumbai killed at least 101 people and brought the bustling city to a standstill.

Pigeons fly near the burning Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe

“Mumbai under terrorist attack! Terrible! Terrible Situation!" actor Amitabh Bachchan posted on his blog ( just hours after the attacks were reported late on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people, including foreigners, were still trapped by Islamist gunmen on Thursday in a city that has witnessed some of India’s worst terror attacks.

Several film shoots were cancelled in Mumbai, home to the world’s most prolific film industry, while security was tightened at the ongoing International Film Festival of India in the nearby state of Goa.

“Shootings in Mumbai, especially those in South Mumbai, have been cancelled because people are scared to come out of their houses,” Mukesh Bhatt, chairman of the core committee of Bollywood producers, told Reuters.

“But some producers are still shooting. We have to get used to terror now.”

Many of the areas targeted in the attacks are frequented by celebrities from Bollywood.

The gunmen arrived by boats in Mumbai on Wednesday, before fanning out and attacking the Taj and Oberoi hotels, the landmark Leopold Cafe, hospitals and a railway station, firing indiscriminately.

“To think that any one can walk in with AK-47 into a station or a five-star hotel boggles the mind,” said actor Rahul Bose.

India’s film industry lost millions of rupees in revenue in the past two months due to workers striking over better pay. The terror attacks are bound to hit the industry even harder.

“The immediate effect will be that people will be wary of going to theatres so revenues will suffer,” Bose said.

In the tourist haven of Goa, armed policemen mingled with delegates and lovers of cinema and a minute-long silence is being observed before each screening at India’s most prestigious film festival.

“We have some 500 foreign delegates here, and we are doing everything to make sure they and the other delegates and our guests are safe,” festival director S. M.Khan said.

Oscar-nominated French actress Catherine Deneuve was scheduled to arrive on Thursday while jury head filmmaker Peter Chan was already at the festival venue.

Bollywood actor Abhay Deol is also in Goa to promote his film “Oye Lucky Lucky Oye” but said his “mind is far away in Mumbai”.

“Celebrating films seems a little selfish right now,” the actor said.