In an age when we are cheering the entry of Bollywood actors in Hollywood, hailing it as a case of victory against racism, it is but natural that our own industry has had the doors wide open for artists across borders for decades.
However, in the aftermath of Uri militant attack last month and the surgical strike thereafter, the cross-border situation has changed. Days after Bollywood gave mixed response to MNS threats that Pakistani artists should leave India and producers declaring they won’t make films with any Pakistani artist or technician, theatre owners have now declared a similar ban. Cine Owners’ Association announced Friday that any film with “any association with anyone from Pakistan” will not be screened in theatres all across.
While some celebrities have supported the cause of art, saying art and politics must not mixed, others have said the government should decide who should work here.
We take a look at actors and singers whose talent was not limited by the borders.
Pakistani actor Fawad Khan became a household name when Zindagi aired his TV serial Zindagi Gulzar Hai in 2014.
The same year, he made a grand Bollywood debut opposite Sonam Kapoor with Khoobsurat -- a remake of the 1983 Rekha-starrer hit by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Fawad bagged the Filmfare award for best male debut. He was last seen in Sidharth Malhotra-Alia Bhatt-starrer Kapoor and Sons, where his portrayal of a gay was widely appreciated. Fawad will now be seen in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Musshkil along with Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma.
He began his Bollywood journey with the 2010 sleeper hit Tere Bin Laden that got him wide criitical acclaim. But actor-singer Ali Zafar was already a hit in India with his songs creating all the right waves. He then featured in several films including Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011), Chashme Budoor (2013), Total Siyaapa (2014) and Kill Dill (2014).
He will soon be seen in Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi that stars Alia Bhatt and features Shah Rukh Khan in a guest role.
Pakistani singer and actor Atif Aslam ruled Indian charts with his album Aadat in 2005. The album bagged him wide critical acclaim as well as several awards including Sahara Angeet award.
He has crooned for several films like Bas Ek Pal (2007), Zeher (2006), Race (2009) and Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani (2010)
His first song Lift Kara De created a buzz in India in 2000. The album, Kabhi to Nazara Milao, featured several Indian actors including Rani Mukherjee, Aditi Gowitrikar and Govinda and was one of the top selling albums in India. Soon Adnan Sami was flooded with offers to sing for Indian projects and he crooned for films like Deewanapan, Shakti, Karz, Chori Chori and Yuva. Sami became an Indian citizen in January 2016.
He continues to sing for Bollywood films and his latest hit was Bhar Do Jholi from Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015).
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Pakistani qawwali singer Rahat made his Bollywood debut with Paap in 2003 and his song Lagan Lagi became an instant hit. He has continued giving chartbusters like Jiya Dhadak (Kalyug, 2005), Naina (Omkara,2006), Bol Na Halke Halke (Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, 2007) and Sajda (My Name is Khan, 2010).
Rahat’s latest song Jag Ghoomeya from Salman Khan-starrer Sultan (2016) was again a superhit.
Salma Agha made her Bollywood debut in 1982 with Nikaah opposite Raj Babbar and Deepak Parashar. She acted in the film as well lent her voice for a few songs including the legendary Dil ke Armaan. She also bagged the Filmfare award for best female actor.
She worked in a few films and even crooned several songs afterwards, but the recognition never matched that of BR Chopra’s Nikaah.
Popular Pakistani folk singer Reshma made her Bollywood with Lambi Judaai in Hero (1983).
Though it was her only major Indian project, her pirated cassettes ensured she was a popular favourite singer in the country in the 80s. She also performed at concerts in India, even before crooning for Subhash Ghai’s film.
Raj Kapoor’s dream project that was completed by Randhir Kapoor - Heena - launched Zeba in Bollywood. Her innocence and purity won hearts.
She worked in films including Jai Vikranta, but could not establish her career in Bollywod and she returned to showbiz in Pakistan.