With Pakistani TV shows gaining prominence in India, there are many actors from Pakistan who are gearing up for their Bollywood debut. While Humsafar actor Mahira Khan will be sharing the screen with actor Shah Rukh Khan in Raees, actor Fahad Mustafa, whose show Mastana Mahi was aired in India, will also be seen in a film here. Singer Atif Aslam's acting debut in Bollywood is scheduled at the end of this year, while actor Momal Sheikh will be seen in filmmaker Aanand L Rai's production. Pakistani actor Mawra Hocane will be a part Vinay Sapru and Radhika Rao's upcoming movie.Talking about why filmmakers in India are casting actors from across the border, trade analyst Atul Mohan says, "Their shows are popular here and the actors are building their fan base. Filmmakers are encashing on this. Roping in these actors invites media attention." And it seems to be a win-win situation for both, the actors and directors. "The money that the actors are offered in India is much higher than in Pakistan. That is why they look for projects here," says trade analyst Amod Mehra.
Mudassar Aziz, who will be directing Rai's production starring Momal, says that these cross-border exchanges help to make the craft better. "Working together is wonderfully educative. We crack some stereotypes in their approach to cinema and they shatter some in ours," he says. Talking about working here, Mahira was quoted as saying, "It was a very different experience. I was just taking it all in."
However, there are still some hurdles. "There are actors who have not been able to return to complete a film because of visa issues. That can hamper a project," says Mehra.