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Mausam screenings cancelled at TIFF

09/13/2011 05:04 EDT | Updated 11/13/2011 05:12 EST

Mausam (Seasons of Love), a story about star-crossed Indian lovers and the directorial debut of noted Indian actor Pankaj Kapoor, has been withdrawn from the Toronto International Film Festival lineup.

TIFF officials announced Tuesday that all screenings and the press conference for the anticipated film — which had earned one of the festival's prestigious gala spots — have been cancelled.

"We are extremely disappointed that the studio has informed us that the film will not have received the necessary regulatory approvals in India, forcing us to cancel all screenings of Mausam," TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey said in a statement.

Mausam tells the story of a Punjabi Hindu named Harry (Shahid Kapoor) who falls in love with Aayat, a beautiful Muslim girl from Kashmir (Sonam A. Kapoor) in rural Punjab. Though romance blossoms between the two, a variety of forces prevent them from being together.

Producers received special permission from the Indian Air Force to shoot scenes of the film at Gwalior airbase, as Kapoor plays an Air Force pilot. As part of the deal, movie studio Eros International Media Limited agreed to give the IAF final approval on Mausam before it submitted the movie to the Indian film board for official certification.

According to Indian media reports, the IAF has objected to a dramatic aerial sequence featuring Kapoor in a fighter jet and is withholding approval until edits are made.

"We are very disappointed not to be able to present the world premiere of Mausam in Toronto and accept full responsibility for our absence," said Mausam producer Sheetal Talwar, who added that the entire team offers its "deepest apologies to our audience in Toronto."

In recent years, TIFF has helped increase the profile of Indian cinema by hosting the world premieres of prominent Indian films and holding special festival-related talks and panels featuring Indian filmmakers and stars.

"Toronto audiences have been powerful champions for the promotion and growth of Indian cinema abroad and it's a shame that our festival audiences will be left disappointed," Bailey said.

TIFF tickets for Mausam will be refunded.

It's the latest setback for Mausam. In August, a U.K. launch event for the film's soundtrack — slated to feature performances by the two stars — was cancelled because of the London riots. The film is also slated to open in theatres across India on Sept. 16.

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