iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Debasmita Ghosh, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 18, 2013
The new low in diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan is not just a political issue anymore. Indeed, the tension across the border is spilling over to sports, culture, fashion and even food events.

After the Pakistani hockey team was sent back, several restaurants in the Capital that were planning to hold food festivals with chefs from across the border, have also dropped their plans.

“We were planning to get a chef from Lahore to train our chefs, but considering the current state of affairs, we have kept the idea on hold. We don’t think even they will want to come here now,” says Priyank Sukhija of Raas at Hauz Khas village, which specialises in Indian and Pakistani cuisine.

Anuj Bahl, owner of Lahori Shah, Saket, rues about a 15-20% drop in footfall at his Pakistani food joint, and Rajiv Bajaj, general manager of The Village Restaurant Complex, says that they too have stalled their plan of holding a Pakistani food fest at their restaurant Angeethi.

“The menu was finalised and we had even booked the tickets for the chefs to come down, but the situation is volatile now and we don’t want to take any risk,” says Bajaj. Lavpreet Singh, owner of Cafe Cruise, has cancelled a live musical evening he planned with Pakistani singers at his eatery.

“I want to wait for the differences to settle down till we do this,” says Singh. The scene is no different with fashion designers from across the border. “Every month we have designers from Pakistan who come down here to hold an exhibition, but we’ll not be able to do it this month. Their visas are in place but they say that they are not feeling too safe to travel,” says Sahibjit Singh Bindra of Pakistan Fashion Design Council.

Meanwhile, shows of two Pakistani plays, Mantorama and Kaun Hai Yeh Gustak, that  were scheduled to be held at the Kamani auditorium on January 17 and 19, as part of the ongoing Bharat Rang Mahotsav of the National School of Drama, have also been called off, citing “unavoidable circumstances.”