There are conflicting reports on whether Victory, an Indian film shooting all this month in Australia, has been affected by a controversy that has greatly intensified in the last 24 hours around the current test cricket series being played between India and Australia.

Producer Vivek Aggarwal said none of the Indian test players had been scheduled to appear in the father-son drama set against the world of international cricket, but several off-the-record sources associated with the film said they had.

These sources also assured that at least one, V.V.S. Laxman, had decided to withdraw from his planned cameo appearance because of the growing nastiness between the two countries.

Many cricket stars from India, New Zealand, the UK and Australia are due to appear in the film. Those from Australia include Brett Lee, Mike Hussey, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddon and Brad Hogg.

Director Ajit Pal and a small crew filmed the first two test matches as a backdrop for the film. They took place at the Melbourne and Sydney Cricket Grounds after Christmas.

Then, yesterday, the Indian side threatened to pull out of the next two matches of the tour because of their disgust with the standard of umpiring and with one of their team members being suspended for alleged racist taunts. But Aggarwal said no decision had been taken to film at further matches.

Victory filmed for 22 days in India in December before moving to Australia. The Indian production company, Adlabs, is working with Sydney-based Films and Casting Temple, which facilitates the growing number of Indian films that use Australia as a location.

The full cast and crew started work in Sydney yesterday and the biggest set-ups occurred then and today. This is only the second film for lead actor Harman Baweja; his previous drama, Love Story 2050, is due for release in India in June 2008 and was also partly filmed in Australia.

'With Australia being cricket crazy like India, it has been easy for us to shoot here,' said Aggarwal. Cricket Australia had been a very big supporter of the film, helping them access players and venues, he added.

A press conference held today by the New South Wales Government to highlight the attractions of shooting in that state attracted a big turn out because of the controversy that has proven once and for all that cricket is no longer a gentlemen's game.