Sam Mendes called out for 'forcing diversity' in his Oscar nominated film '1917'

WION Web Team New Delhi Jan 21, 2020, 05.50 PM(IST)

'James Bond' director Sam Mendes returns with tense war film '1917' Photograph:( Twitter )

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British actor Laurence Fox has lashed out at director Sam Mendes over his inclusion of a Sikh soldier in his Oscar-nominated film '1917'. 

British actor Laurence Fox has lashed out at director Sam Mendes over his inclusion of a Sikh soldier in his Oscar-nominated film '1917'. 

Calling his casting distracting, Fox said that inclusion of actor Nabhaan Rizwaan as a Sikh soldier was not appropriate to the film's surrounding. The actor said 'forcing diversity on people' is 'institutionally racist'. 

Fox got embroiled in a row over 'white privilege' on writer James Delingpole's podcast where he stated that the Sikh character distracted from what the story was about. Read the review of '1917' here. 

The Sikhs, though, did fight in the first world war alongside the British forces but in their own regiments and not the British ones as depicted in Mendes' film. Read our review of the film here. 

'1917' has received a whopping 10 nominations at the upcoming Oscars and is one of the frontrunners for the best picture Oscar. Why we think the film stands a chance to win at Oscars

Fox further said, "It's like, "There were Sikhs fighting in this war" . . . OK, you're now diverting me away from what the story is. There is something institutionally racist about forcing diversity on people in that way.' 

The actor said the inclusion also made him question the credibility of the storyline and said the casting of Rizwaan caused 'very heightened awareness of the colour of someone's skin' because of 'the oddness of the casting'. 

While he criticised his casting, but Fox praised Rizwan's performance. 

Also read: Oscar nominated film '1917' has been backed by India's Reliance Entertainment

Will Sam Mendes' '1917' become first war film after 'Hurt Locker' to win Best Picture?